Rats! Good for protein and protests in Uganda


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A man who ate a rat in front of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in 2005 is threatening to repeat what he says is a traditional form of protest used to bring change.

John Ojim Omoding, 79, told the Daily Monitor newspaper that his grandfather ate a live rat in front of British colonisers in 1947, persuading them to make the eastern Torora area a county.

Now Omoding wants Tororo (more than 150 km (93 miles) northeast of Kampala) promoted to district status and says he may eat more rats in front of Museveni -- who is touring the country to campaign for a fourth term in office in polls due on February 18 -- to achieve this goal.

"Awarding us district status would reunify us. I can eat more rats before the president if that would make him listen to our plight," he said.

Rats are not generally eaten in Uganda, though some members of the Iteso tribe, from which Omoding comes, are said to have considered them a delicacy until the 1950s. Other groups berated them for it.

The Monitor reported that the elderly man said eating rats was a "historic custom, practiced for centuries to induce development programs."

Omoding's 2005 rat-eating stunt made headlines in Uganda and some say prompted Museveni to set up two commissions which recommended Tororo be made a district. The recommendation has not been followed up.