Most of my reading on Uganda has to do with the Lord’s Resistance Army, but recently I’ve been reading up on their precursor, the Holy Spirit Movement. Like many groups in northern Uganda, the group had written rules for all participants. From an article in 1991:
The rules vary somewhat between testimonies but are consistent in their prohibition of wearing lucky charms, consulting other healers and mediums, sexual intercourse, alcohol, tobacco and certain foods (white ants, pork, sometimes mutton). Other prohibitions that appear frequently are on food cooked in saucepans, eating with anyone who has not been anointed, killing snakes, becoming angry, and theft. Additionally there are often instructions, such as ‘When we gather our- selves after battle, we must have water sprinkled on us before drinking’ and ‘When going to the front-line, we should sing, “Medicine give power, give me guidance. Anthill give me respect”.’ In some cases the lists of rules are presented in an explicitly biblical style, and those contained in the testimony obtained by Behrend even come complete with references, for example ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery or fornication (Deut. 5, 18: Gal. 5, 19)’. In addition there is occasionally a rule relating to the correct shape of the body, such as ‘Thou shalt have two testicles, neither more nor less’
Today is the one year anniversary of the World Cup Bombings in Kampala which claimed over 70 lives. I wanted to put together some sort of post to mark the occasion, even if only to remember the incidents and the lives taken. Last year, I put up a blog post about it at the time, but was pretty bewildered.
For those who don’t recall, one year ago two sites in Kampala were bombed by Somali insurgent group al Shabaab. The attacks hit the Ethiopian Village, a restaurant frequented by Westerners and a place I planned on visiting. I drove by the restaurant a few weeks later and the compound was boarded up – haven’t heard if it ever opened. The attacks also hit the Kyadongo Rugby Club, a field that had been filled with seats and screens to house a viewing party. The attack was in response to Uganda’s involvement in the African Union’s military presence (AMISOM) in fighting for the transitional government in Somalia against al Shabaab.
So, how much have things changed since? In May, some groups reported worries that al Shabaab attacks loomed, but it led to some debate over whether the government had reliable evidence of attacks or if it was exploiting the attacks to dampen contemporary protests over fuel prices. Al Shabaab is still fighting against AMISOM, but there is some speculation that they’ve expanded outside of Somalia. The East African had a report on prospects of expansion due to several conflicts along the Somali-Kenyan border. It seems that al Shabaab is definitely pushing its weight around even though it’s still in the middle of fighting against the transitional government, but the question remains: are another series of bombings on the scale of the World Cup Bombings possible?