Veteran journalist, Andrew Mwenda has downplayed the stance by President Yoweri Museveni on the kind of hair that Miss Uganda wears, saying her preference of foreign hair isn’t as culturally damaging as the President using a foreign language to communicate.
Over a week ago, when the President hosted the reigning Miss Uganda, Quiin Abenakyo who now doubles as Miss World Africa, he was not impressed that the beauty queen wore a hair weave made in India. Museveni advised her to maintain her natural look since Africans are naturally beautiful.
The comment which was captured in international press attracted divided opinion, with some arguing that Miss Uganda reserved the right to choose how she preferred to look.
On Saturday, during a dinner at the President’s country home in Rwakitura where Abenakyo, her relatives and friends were guests, the beauty queen this time appeared with her natural hair.
Today, the President tweeted: “I advised Abenakyo to keep her hair natural. I am glad she heeded the advice and re-asserted her African identity. God beautifully created Africans, there is no need to add or subtract anything”.
But Andrew Mwenda responded to Museveni’s tweet questioning why he didn’t use an indegenous language to communicate if his concern is African identity.
“If we have to keep our African identity, why didn’t you send this tweet in Runyankore, Lusoga or Swahili?” Mwenda who is the chief executive of the Independent Magazine tweeted.
“How is your use of English in this tweet different from her [Abenakyo] use of mzungu hairstyles? Isn’t use of a foreign language more culturally damaging than using a foreign hairstyle?” he further asked.
But many Ugandans on Twitter disagreed with Mwenda, some terming it as shallow. They argued that the President’s choice of English as a language of communication was simply to relay his message to a wider audience within Uganda, Africa and beyond. Others on WhatsApp said Mwenda was only trying to re-assert himself to regain his old glory.
Uganda is a multilingual country given its very diverse distribution of culture and traditions. With at least 56 tribes, there are numerous native languages and English has been adopted as the official language, owing to Uganda’s colonial history.