Hon. Agnes Nanduttu looked fly in her beaded jewelry, so she thought, as she went to parliament this past week to be vetted, in order to get parliament’s approval for her to become the Minister for Karamoja. And, by the way, Hon. Nanduttu has also gone ahead to change her profile photos on social media to those in which she is Karamojong-like adorned.
Hon. Nanduttu’s Twitter Profile
The beads that she wore, are characteristically associated with the nomadic pastoralists of Karamoja and other pastoralists in other East African countries.
In popular discourse in Uganda, however, the way of life of nomadic pastoralists is often derided as a backward. A lifestyle those who deride it are convinced that those who live it need to be saved from it.
This is exactly the attitude of Hon. Nanduttu’s party, the National Resistance Movement, towards the way of life of the Karimojong of Uganda. Policies of the NRM administration for Karamoja contain plenty examples to validate this assertion.
It is against this background that I fully understand and I endorse the outrage from many Karimojong women who took offense to Hon Nanduttu appropriating their cultural dress code as she appeared for vetting by parliament.
“The dress code still does not really excite us. We need someone who understand our past and current situation, someone who can talk to us with the language we understand.” Dr. Nangiro Loyce, Md.
“Okwe that wanting to dupe us with the dress code does not work, we have refused this move in totality. For the last 15 years, we can’t understand why a Karamojong can’t be appointed to the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs, our own affairs. We don’t understand the function of that ministry. We don’t know whose interests it’s serving, definitely not our interests. We don’t connect or relate with it completely. We all know how Karamoja has its own unique challenges that it can’t be for trials and gambling year in year out. Hon Nandutu and Hon Kitutu, it’s not in bad faith my sisters but as long our taxes run the ministry and it’s for our affairs, allow us identify and connect with it. #EnoughOfThisNonsense” Lomuria Konyen Betty (in the fore on the right)
Hon. Nanduttu arriving at parliament to be vetted.
“Cultural appropriation is the adoption of an element or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture or identity. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from minority cultures, though not the opposite.”Wikipedia
Hon. Nanduttu is by all means a member of a dominant culture that believes the way of life of the Karimojong backward. And so, her cultural appropriation of Karamojong fashion for her vetting session with parliament was grossly insensitive.
It is this kind of insensitivity that perhaps fits within Lomuria Konyen Betty’s #EnoughOfThis Nonsense.