Over the previous weekend there was a lot of talk on Moses Ssali aka Bebe Cool and whether throwing bottles at him was right or wrong. I couldn’t quite pick which side to align with, so I remained silent as I contemplated my thoughts.
Understanding the Bebe Cool Vs Bobi Wine Saga
To start with, I do not condone violence. Let that be clear. I believe in having meaningful and productive discussions. I believe that people with different ideas and opinions can coexist.
I am after all an economist who truly believes that most markets follow behavior and as such are imperfect because humans are in no way perfect. We’re affected by emotions and generally make annoying and irrational decisions. I believe this is how most economies work today, but I do not support this. I believe in the rational approach to an economy.
I do not agree with the typical classical economist who believes in the invisible hand, letting market forces of demand and supply dictate an economy. I also believe that there is need for government intervention in the critical areas of an economy, health, education, and infrastructure.
My strongest belief however is in humanity. The belief that we must accord each other basic human rights is core to how I approach most of my decisions in life. That we are all created equal and should treat each other as we would ourselves.
I borrow this from one of the greatest and controversial books out there, the Bible. Love your neighbor as you would love yourself. Jesus was on a roll when he said that one.
Freedom from torture, freedom of speech, access to basic services, peaceful and regular transition of power. Those are just a few of the beliefs I hold dear.
So, when I struggle with whether it was right or wrong to pelt Bebe Cool, this is why. I believe at the very least in engaging someone on the bare minimum level. I will engage with you “morally” if you may, if at the very least we are starting from level ground. A ground that believes in humanity and the preservation of basic human rights and dignities.
I was able to engage with people online and offline over the recent changes in the Financial Tax Act (mobile money tax, social media tax), the Makerere University fees increase and other differing views and beliefs in a civil matter because to me while those were views that went strongly against my school of thought, they at least maintained some basic human dignities and rights.
When you send in armed officers to a crowd wielding tyres, sticks and stones, open fire at people in an unarmed vehicle, torture civilians in your custody, deny people access to medical services and lawyers due process in court. When you do all this, then I fail to see the bare minimum in you and as such I cannot meet you in any civil manner.
So yes, I have concluded that people were right in reacting the way they did to Bebe Cool. We cannot all have the same political views, but we should at the least believe in the preservation of human rights and dignities and call it out regardless of where our political loyalties lie.
Remaining silent in the face of oppression is paramount to handing ammunition to load the oppressors weapon.
Other updates: Echodu’s Mind: The Religious Hypocrisy
Author: Michelle Mboha
Michelle is an economist, early stage business adviser and a human rights advocate. She is also a guest writer for Newslibre.