‘What are you people doing up here?’

That’s what Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said he wants to ask the Americans, during an address to an assembly of Uganda’s top lawyers on Saturday. “Up here” refers to space, apparently – specifically the moon.

“Uganda alone cannot go to the moon. We are too small. But East Africa united can. That is what East African integration is all about,” he said. “Then we can say to the Americans: ‘What are you doing here all alone?’.”

I’ve never been to Uganda, but I have spoken with some people there using the medium of the telephone. While Africa may lag some distance behind the rest of the world, in urban areas, basic stuff like telephones are a given.
Kampala, particularly, has a fairly decent telecommunications network, which makes me wonder why Mr Museveni can’t just call some Americans on the phone and ask them what they are doing on the moon. A quick google search of “NASA telephone numbers” gives NASA HQ’s number as (202) 358-0000. I think you add a 1 before that to get to the USA, if that helps at all, Mr President.

Even if they are currently all alone on the moon, just leave a voicemail and they’ll get back to you as soon as they return. And then they can tell you what they were doing up there.  You won’t need to spend billions of Ugandan Shillings (at 2207.50 to the US dollar) on a costly, dangerous and lengthy space programme, you’ll just have to cough up for an international phone call.

If you get Skype, it’ll be even cheaper.

“The Americans have gone to the moon. And the Russians. The Chinese and Indians will go there soon. Africans are the only ones who are stuck here,” Museveni said.

Well, yes. The Africans, certainly. And the Peruvians. Don’t forget them. And the Spanish. And the Saudi Arabians. But Saudi Arabia is a great place and they probably don’t want to leave anyway. And the Welsh. And the Swiss. Nice mountains; great cows. And the Malaysians – most of them have never even been outside Malaysia, let alone to the moon. And the… [continues ad nauseum]

9 thoughts on “‘What are you people doing up here?’

  1. In the 50s, the US decided that it would be kinda groovy to land on that rock in the sky. A few years later, they landed on that rock in the sky.

    Twelve times, in fact. Just because the view was better than from the atop the Empire State Building.

    No other country has landed on the moon.

    Whether or not the US developed everything along the way, one thing’s for sure: they were smart enough to buy out anyone or anything that would have made them trail in the race.

    Now they’re bored and are already remote controlling a dune buggy on Mars.

    Kudos to the Americans. They really are, um, light years ahead.

  2. I have a feeling your average Turkmenistani has never been to the moon either. But we better send up some Ugandans to make sure.

    Po´s last blog post was: Bank holiday (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  3. Is he suggesting all Ugandans/East Africans should go to the Moon, or just the Politicians? Might be worth paying for a one way ticket!

  4. Well President Yoweri Museveni, maybe you should worry about feeding your people or paying Mr 6K to find a cure for TB before you blow your country’s budget trying to get somebody on the moon! Unless Mr Zuma volunteers to be the first guest “up here”.

    Del´s last blog post was: White line fever (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  5. CuppaCoffee > It’s only a matter of time until SA join the space race. Somewhere else for the whining ex-pats to go.
    But yes – the Americans certainly lead the way on this one. I’m not really sure why that means Uganda should follow.

    Rustig > Only a bit scary. Oh, wait… hang on. No, you’re right. Very scary.

    Po > Didn’t the USSR used to launch their rockets from Turkmenistan? Does that count?

    Wiggy > Now you’re talking. Why aim so low (literally)?
    Next week: Namibians on Neptune.

    Rob > He was in Entebbe when he made the speech. Surely virtually anywhere is better than there.

    Del > The trouble with the whole treating TB and feeding the people thing is that it actually doesn’t get you any international coverage. Now a moonshot, on the other hand…

  6. “East Africa united…” I see the first obstacle right there.

    Ordinarylife´s last blog post was: I like lists! (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

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