11 June 2017

Uganda: The Danger of Deluded Men

Photo: Sadat Mbogo/Daily Monitor
Orphans. Mukiibi’s orphans, said to number between 50 and 100, attracted the attention of Ugandans.

I hate to join the fray of those yapping about the late Prof Lawrence Mukiibi, but I fear I must.

Instead of debating the how, the why and the wherefores - not to mention the grief his family is enduring with the proverbial airing of their dirty linen for all the world to see - my heart goes out to the children.

Regardless of who contributed to their DNA, they are technically fatherless. Sadly, they are only representative of countless others in this country of ours.

There is a most unfortunate trend for men to father children, and move on without so much as a backward glance. Forget the ones that separated from their partner and went off to start a new family; those ones have excuses. I am talking about a man who pursues a woman for the sole purpose of getting her pregnant.

Before you argue that it cannot be the sole purpose, bear in my mind that such men rarely have just one child. A first one can be excused as an accident, follies of youth, whatnot. The second one... we start to doubt the quality of your brains. By the third one, we are sure this is your purpose in life, and we ready ourselves for more to come.

It is a sickness! A selfish, egotistical delusion that your sperm is God's gift to posterity!

You ignore the heartbroken woman who is left to raise a child or two on her own. It doesn't matter how much you bank on her account; you will not be there for the birthdays, the sicknesses, the successes, the struggles... She walks this journey alone with your child; a handicap she carries with her into the dating pool because you men are not very good at raising each other's spawn.

No! That, again, is left to women to raise the brood you collect from other women!

Still, we could argue that each one of those women made a calculated decision. Even under coercion, she did choose to give in and didn't care for birth control. Right? But not the children. They are the innocent third-party in this saga.

For the ones that are old enough to understand what is going on, I cannot imagine their emotional state in the midst of all this frenzy. The questions they are asking about their past, and the worry about their future... Passing the DNA test is but one hurdle. Then, they have to go through life hiding, explaining, questioning and excusing their paternity.

The ones who manage to get a father-figure will get by, and even turn out great. But many will struggle. This is no prophecy of doom. I am surrounded by enough fatherless children and attempted to answer the "why me" questions. It takes a grounded woman to be a successful single parent.

Orphans are part and parcel of life. And while they struggle, society has a safety net designed for them. It ain't perfect, but it is there. The fatherless whose fathers still have breath, are not so lucky and my heart goes out to them.

So, if you are one of those ignoring your offspring, I wish you no peace till you have brought your children peace.


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