A General, Several Shades Of Red, HIV Eradication And Anti-Homosexuality In Uganda

I had a dream and in the dream.....

It was easier to fight HIV in Uganda and be done with it.
With 1,000 persons infected and 500 of these dying every week in Uganda, according to UNAIDS 2019 report, we all must put aside any excuse not to engage in the fight against HIV.

Organizations led by KP which have always received Human Rights Activism funds were provided funds as well as those that strategically promoted HIV/Public Health Activism.

It was a very edifying dream......

Sadly, there are those who sold phone, bed and family assets to keep upholding HIV Programming and realistically led to a genuine Treatment Cascade for KPs. These organizations were not provided PEPFAR funding! 

A Treatment Cascade is where mobilization for testing is done; those who test positive are provided ARVs; and those on ARVs are supported to adhere and go for Viral testing to verify viral load suppression. This was in Malaba, Busia, Hoima, Mbarara, Kampala, Nairobi, Jjinja, Lugazi, Mukono..........to name but a few hotspots. 

Unfortunately, these organizations that have been in the thick and thin of HIV-related care targeting Key Populations were sidelined by IPs through which PEPFAR Funding was channeled.

The reason: "They lacked 'structures'!" This said with sweet finality!

HIV Programming phases: 

1. The 5 Liter herbal jerrycans' Phase

That was a time when stigma combined with lack of medications so herbalists had their day. Still HIV ravaged on, including these very herbalists!

2. The Culturalization Phase

When the drum beat brought sense in all and sundry (some say the fear and menacing thoughts)!

3. The Medicalization Phase

When efforts were made to get those who tested positive on medication. Then, came those who took short-cuts by inflating lists which made their way to paying accountants. Inflating lists became the business of HIV Programming and with it lots of money. Those "floating" in the money ended up building multiple homes and buying multiple cars, not to mention plots of land here and there! And you are wondering why Uganda still has not YET tamed HIV prevalence rates?

4. The Psycho-social Phase

When medical combined with social support structures. Then, came those who diverted the funds and instead bought  Mercedes Benz ML 500! It became taboo not to have a trophy if you were running an HIV Prevention Programme in Uganda!

5. The Politico-Legal (Realpolitik)  Phase

When criminalization was misrepresented. Then, it became so covetous and highly paying to be a legislator with attendant lucrative trappings!

6. The Capitalization Phase

When those who drive Four Wheels and stay in Air-conditioned offices, laugh at and look down on those who still do home care/door-to-door care services! Up to-date first principles of HIV Programming are laughed at in Uganda. If you ever talk of or write about grass-root-based interventions in your proposal, you are scoffed! Talk about large and well painted offices, emphasize salaries (hefty ones) and allowances to attend conferences in South Africa or America. That is how HIV Programming has been 'reduced!'

7. The Dashboard Savvy Phase

Where the Key-board literate can come up with HIV-AIDS Prevention Organizations in their tens, make fake audit reports and present them as basis for getting funded!

8. Fast Food HIV Parlour Phase

They speak boardroom English, hold court in those storeyed offices, whose addresses are in manicured neighbourhoods, with tinted windows, tea-boys passing crispy samosas. They prefer to work with organizations that produce lists of attendance, never mind who is on them. In Uganda, an organization able to produce lists of attendance is in business to receive PEPFAR funds!

9. The Blade runner Phase

They are aware of PEPFAR Number Goals for Africa South of Sahara. So, they have thrown away Consent/Age/Gender (CAG)-specific criteria for  recruiting right candidates. If it is about testing, they will recruit toddlers and mothers; if it is about Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision, they recruit younger boys (below 18 years), cut them and make sure this features in their figures; if it is about audited reports, they know which auditors to go and have their reports "doctored!"

10. Exit Poll Style HIV Programming Phase

They use same place, same numbers, same names of participants and take them through testing, circumcision, seminars and any other activity. That way, they give the right numbers and this enables them account for the money they request. 

It is not the Generals who have killed large populations living with HIV. 

Rather it is the people with the buttons to the Epidemiology HIV busters who have failed to lead HIV eradication missions! These are now playing into the fear mongering that hides accountability reports. They are feeding the frenzy of a 'told you so' lackadaisical approach to HIV eradication by those who are not conscientiously invested. 

They will tell us, when we demand PEPFAR accountability in 2030, that:

 "we were afraid of being called homosexual sympathizers. That is why we never worked with those organizations which could go to the grassroots and tell us about ARVs, drug-related reactions and all those woes. We want the comfortable stories and of course our lists of attendance! That is all that PEPFAR requires and one goes Scot-free!"

That aside! 

What's with the colour red and homosexuals in Uganda?

Philology is a subject, we shall go to, if we are to navigate the link between colours of insignia and tunic to politics of HIV eradication in Uganda.

A General, a very renowned and highly decorated general for that (I was made to understand adding "highly decorated" is oxymoronic), has been quoted to link Homosexuality and red insignia in one statement. This has historical consequences and power to give Ugandan media spin-offs that will take us to the 2022 elections! Not to mention revenue for FM Radios........and Televised talking head shows in Uganda!

A colour, any colour can make armies appear grander, organized and create long lasting impression to the minds and History. But, armies march on more than colours! It may be Red or Blue or Gray. Alexander’s royal costume and insignia never had red in it. If it did it was not so significant than the blue he had chosen!

The Romans, chose the colour red because they believed they were the children of the red planet Mars. "The Romans called themselves the sons of Mars so.... Red was also the soldier's colour in ancient Rome. The colour red helped identify to the public that the man wearing was a soldier and not ordinary citizens."

The Soviets were known to favour the colour red. It was the colour of choice and this has had economical, social, cultural and political attachments even when the great Soviet Union broke into smaller states with Russia being the largest today.

The Colour red plays significantly in the minds of people in USA. "Red states and blue states have referred to those states whose voters predominantly either choose the Republican Party (red) or Democratic Party (blue) presidential candidates."

The Union Jack would be different without red. In it are the crosses of the three countries united under one Sovereign - the kingdoms of England and Wales, of Scotland and of Ireland. Perhaps a famous statement attributed to Cecil Rhodes, will drive the point further on why red has been so popular. In taking African lands, he is said to like to "paint as much of the map of Africa British Red as possible...”

Many countries have embraced red, but that list would be incomplete without China in the red-game!  

Africans have always known red to be eternal in their notoriously religious turns and twists! Read Mbiti's books to get the gist here.

I earlier on said  "it is not the Generals who have killed large populations living with HIV. Rather it is the people who have the buttons to the Epidemiology HIV busters who have failed to lead HIV eradication missions!" Generals are smarter!

The General is also a military scholar and a Minister in charge of intelligence in Uganda. Soon, he will reconcile his well informed mind to the realities of military history as well the realities of gender and social stratagem. 

Heterosexuality and Homosexuality for that matter, do not wait to be organized, mobilized, packaged into strategy. Nor can they be deployed to cause political, social, economical or cultural tactical forces to fell governments or religions. They are just a normativity whose existence determines defines/refines orientation, formation, growth, development, gender, sexuality and identity. In other words, as Freud would put it, they are components of determinism embedded in the fibers or structure of social relations. That is Freud for you! 

What causes mayhem is a proclivity for blood thirstiness, greed, violence, inequality, unaddressed destitution, abuse of human rights, abuse of office (most especially organizations supposed to over see smooth flow of funds to address interventions) and hunger.

Yes, General!

Another General like you said: "an army marched on its belly!"

Let us work together to fight and win HIV which is feeding on many Ugandans. 

Let us leave all organizations to forge the political mechanisms to make Uganda, the place where HIV Must Not win! 

Please do not start the call for  the Anti-Homosexuality Bill Tabling, it is not what is necessary now in Uganda. 

We need to fight HIV. 

Otherwise, there is a Commander in Chief of another great country waiting in the wings to see his bluff called. 

Remember, the one who called Africa, "Shithole Countries?" It turned out that he actually gave us a lot of money under PEPFAR to eradicate HIV. 

The statements you and other powerful Ugandans make are supposed to keep us in line in the fight against HIV. Please, let us keep that beat going! Thank you.

All pictures below, courtesy of Google.

Gen. Elly Tumwine of Uganda, A Scholar-Army General


The United States of America Flag

Soviet era insignia


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