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Of the Kabaka, Lady Sylvia and Omuzaana Nansikombi Love Triangle

Abwooli Rujumba Omurungi W’ Abasambu, sometime mid- last year, whereas me and you soundly slept and snored, as if sleeping and snoring we would know, and while sleeping and snoring, we loathed and craved for what the sleeping and snoring do, the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Fredrick Muwenda Mutebi II (May all his royal appellations be extolled and proclaimed skyhigh) fathered a son, whom in his exceedingly immense and matchless wisdom, named after his grandfather Ssekabaka Ssemakookiro. Buganda thus has a new (crown) prince! Obuganda Buladde!

Why he named the young prince as he did, for Richard is his name, we may never fathom. But Abwooli, didn’t the old sage of our village Eriabu Irabahake son of Aminon Jack sternly warn us together as we were seated beneath the other old bark tree against questioning and attempting interpretations at the deeds and ways of Kings before he descended, just like his forefathers before him, to the land where men gait not with legs but their backs as the boats on the Mwitanzige?

The mother, Rujumba, the mother is grandchild of Mugalula- clan head of the Nsenene (Grasshopper) Clan sitting at Ggomba and according to the customs, rites and traditions evolved and founded by these people- spanning well over four solid centuries of unbroken practice, a King belongs to the mother’s clan. Thus in case he assumes the throne of Buganda Nnamulondo, which he most possibly shall, Prince Richard Semakokiro will be deemed by the same traditions as belonging to the Nsenene Clan.

Just as the foundations of the Nsenene clan are steeped in deep controversy and contest, too is the birth of the Prince Ssemakookiro. It is told by legend that Buyonga’s daughter Wannyana was exceptionally beautiful and this earned her a privilege to mingle with royals of different kingdoms. She was a descendant of the Batoro of Mugamba hill, Busongora in Toro. Her father Buyonga was son of Kiroboozi who the same legend insists was the grandfather of the Nsenene Clan.

It is said, but some contest this account, that the king of Bunyoro Winyi one time while on state duties saw Wannyana in Kisozi and admired her so much. He married her and took her to Kiburara. This is how she came to meet the Muganda prince, Kalemeera who had been banished in Bunyoro by his own father, Kabaka Chwa Nabakka. Kalemeera and Wannyana had a secret love affair and later a son called Kimera who later assumed his grandfather’s throne in Buganda as Kabaka was begotten.

Meanwhile it is claimed and disputed in equal measure- depending on which side of the narrative one finds himself glued upon, that King Winyi’s wife Muhumuza, whom he left in Kisozi, Ggomba, the ancestral home of Wannyana and then part of the vast Bunyoro- Kitara territory, to manage and govern it, got involved with Buyonga in a love affair and actually had a son with him known as Mugalula. This is the fabled Mugalula alluded to earlier-, Clan head of the Nsenene and Grandfather of Prince Ssemakookiro whose prospects of ascending the Ganda throne are as dizzying as the controversy surrounding his birth.

This birth, which must ordinarily be cause for rapturous festivities, deity- thanking and beer gulping in the whole of greater Buganda, it has come to my urgent attention and concern, has in the alternative, and rather ironically, afforded some folks that cruise and navigate upon most of the social media seas the choice of following a rather perilous and pirate- strewn path of so liberally taking it upon themselves to denigrate and desecrate the Great Lion’s name- Kabaka Muwenda- Mutebi II of Buganda!

So much has this been the case and so much has the debate in fact bordered on the hot and the obscene that even some ultra- Ganda loyalists who, when circumstances so demanded, and in the most animating poetry, used to so heroically proclaim in praise and boast, thus: Alik-kanyugira Omuliro Ndigugaaya. Alik-kabya amaziga, Ndimukaabya Musaayi, have been lured to participate in the summary public execution of their King! Some have in fact gone as far as arrogating themselves the exclusive privilege, privilege we indeed shall call it, of spitefully debasing and making comedy of his Majesty’s character, reason, judgment and person.

Rujumba, I most vehemently disagree with them and their blinding ignorance that guides them to so condescendingly presuppose, as they do, for several reasons: Foremost, these rather impolite friends of mine cite Christianity, but most particularly the Anglican brand of it, as the basis upon which they stand in spiteful, ignorant and biased judgment of the person, character, reason and stature of the King, Hail he!.

These faithfuls claim that since Kabaka is Anglican, he is by of right expected to heed to the all- important Anglican virtue of Monogamy just as he is bound to worship but one Lord and God under the promptings of the doctrine of Monotheism- one upon which the whole Christianity belief rests. Thus, they reason, that since the Kabaka wed, under the grandiose glare of the cameras of journalists and the eyes of subjects, Maama Nnabagereka Lady Sylvia Nagginda Luswata at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe in 1999, siring a child as he has out of the hypothetical christian wedlock is as illegal as, supposedly, Prince Ssemakookiro himself!

Abwooli, this cannot at any moment be allowed to stand either by history or reason the same way the wheels of time and history, crushing and turning as they did, destroyed the lonely decision of an English judge in the East Afrikan case of Rex v. Amkeyo, and lo!, as Jesus said,’ Forgive them for they do not know what they say!’

Lest they mislead and attempt to be ‘more catholic than the pope’ or ‘more anglican than the Archbishop of Cantebury’, these faithfuls should fast be guided about the very foundations of the Anglican church that they incumbently cite for a major a pedestal upon which they fly hot and unkindly rhetoric of desecration and denigration to the person, reason and judgment of King Mutebi.

The year was 1534 when as a result of the most dire need to provide a male heir to the English throne, as is in these circumstances to the Buganda throne, the Church of England or the Anglican or Protestant faith as we know it today and as is being used to revile Kabaka Mutebi and Prince Ssemakookiro, was born. It was King Henry VIII that caused the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church and thus the papal authority at Rome.

Because he believed a daughter, Mary and of whom he was in fact most fond, would be unable to consolidate the Tudor Dynasty, King Harry, as those who knew him intimately called him, sought to, during the lifetime of Catherine of Aregon, his legally wedded wife or Queen, look elsewhere for an heir.

Thus in 1525, as Henry grew more impatient, he became enamoured of a charismatic young woman in the Queen’s entourage, Anne Boleyn. Anne at first resisted his attempts to seduce her, and refused to become his mistress, as her sister Mary Boleyn had. This refusal made Henry even more attracted, and he pursued her relentlessly. Eventually, Anne consented only on grounds that Harry makes her acknowledged queen. It soon became the King’s absorbing desire to annul his marriage to Catherine.

Thus Harry appealed directly to the Holy See or Pope Clement VII, through his secretary, William Knight suing for annulment. The grounds were that the bull of Pope Julius II- granting him permission to marry his brother’s wife Catherine, was obtained by false pretences, because -Catherine’s brief marriage to the sickly Arthur had been consummated.

Henry further petitioned, in the event that the desperately sought annulment is granted, a dispensation to marry again, any woman even in the first degree of affinity, whether the affinity was contracted by lawful or unlawful connection. However, this the Church at Rome, rigid and conservative as it usually is, did not accede to the grant of this request. Henry became even more dangerously impatient with Catherine’s inability to extend the male bloodline of the House of Tudor, as, which I shall not allow anyone to force me to say publically- not even at any price, could most possibly have been King Mutebi’s impatience with Maama Nabagereka Lady Sylvia Nagginda Luswata.

Though Henry never formally and instantly repudiated the doctrines of the Catholic Church as they stood, and am telling you currently stand, when he was denied his most desired wish viz his marriage to Lady Anne, he declared himself supreme head of the church in England in 1534. This, combined with subsequent actions, eventually provided expert midwifery services and attention to the historic birth of a splinter church, that Of England sometimes identified as Anglican or Protestant. Protestant because it was the lone child of Protest, Rebellion and/or Disobedience and Insubordination!

Given these indisputably accurate and well- documented historical facts, and with the greatest possible respect and deference to the emotions of those of the Maama Nabagereka loyalists tenanted on this high spiritual edifice, spitting, spreading and spilling most disparaging and unworthy sedition against the Kabaka’s person as they do, for the birth of Prince Richard Ssemakookiro (Blessed be he) of the Nsenene Clan outside the matrimonial wedlock with the astoundingly comely and gentle Queen, it ultimately follows they, like the Neandertathals of antiquity, and recalling Rubashov, have no more moral authority and right to so allege as they do than the latter ‘legislating for the Ape man’.

Kabaka Ronald Fredrick Muwenda- Mutebi II and Prince Richard Semakokiro

Kabaka Ronald Fredrick Muwenda- Mutebi II and Prince Richard Semakokiro

Secondly, Rujumba, it is also incumbent upon those that wish to find the golden gates of heaven specially opened for them in reward for the truth they told, upheld and sought while on earth to closely peer at the maternal parentage of King Mutebi himself, Oggundeggunde ayi Beene, Nyanja Temanyiirwa. Records faultlessly show that the skin of King was born on 13th April 1955 at Mulago hospital to Ssekabaka Muteesa II and Sarah Kisosonkole of the Nkima clan (In Bunyoro- Tooro, we call them Abahinda).

It should be noted that Ssekabaka H. E Sir Fredrick Edward Muteesa, who features prominently in the immediate post- independence politics of Uganda, being the First President as he was, was an avowed Anglican whose grandfather is credited by historians and prelates alike for having invited the bright torch of this most civilized faith, of civilized peoples, to shine and demistify the barbarism and darkness of the native peoples, Ugandans they were later to become.

Ssekabaka Sir Edward Muteesa II, father to Mutebi, was officially married to Nabagereka Lady Damalie Kisosonkole who passed on recently (May God grant her Queit Rest). However, it was not Queen Damalie that begot the current King but rather her Sister Sarah Kisosonkole! Thus, Abwooli, if we were to siphon, which we shall not, this wrong thesis so wildly propagated by the chief desecrators of the Great Lion’s mighty image, then the latter would be, in classic 17th century countryside and legal English parlance, ‘illegitimate’, ‘sired out of wedlock’, ‘bastard’ and not deserving to ascend to the great Nnamulondo of the ages as is the handsome Prince Ssemakookiro of the Nsenene.

Now, Abwooli, none of the most virulent and acidic critics of the circumstances preceding the birth of Prince Ssemakookiro and the subsequent name- labeling of Magulunnyondo (May he live long), is on record as ever having disputed Muwenda- Mutebi’s claim to kingship simply because he was mothered by Sarah and not Damalie, her Queen- Auntie!  I can see them go silent. Hold them Abwooli, let them not run…. Where are they? Abwooli, have you seen the path the Kabaka’s desecrators have taken? But they have been here just moments back…Baleke, let them be son of my mother, for the proverb Agoba Musajjamunne may be unilaterally invoked with the attendant consequences.

Further, I have again heard pockets of the same folks allege that they ‘no longer reserve any semblance of respect for the Kabaka’ because apparently ‘atuswazzizza’ (he has beshamed us) ‘okwegadanga n‘Akazaana akataasoma’ (by swapping privates with an unschooled or unlettered consort or servant), nti era Mutebi owed everything to Maama Nabagereka because ‘she abandoned a prospectively very bright corporate career in the U.S’ to come to Uganda and marry ‘Mutebi’ (yes! They even have the effrontery to call him by his name!), only for him, ‘as are all men’ to be so ungrateful as to openly and unapologetiaclly cheat on and disgrace her. Moreover, with Akataasoma!

I find this line of thought, first as a humanist, secondly as Afrikan and finally as adherent well initiated in the ceremonies of human equality- ugly, unappealing, repulsive and repelling. Abwooli, with the greatest possible respect the comely Queen, she is no better a woman than the other kazzaana (maid- servant) akataasoma- . the one they (the ungrateful disecrators), had they had the liberty to, would also understand as stinking.

This analysis is most regrettable and heart- tearing. Just as this country’s most distinguished musician of all time- Prince Paulo Job Kafeero put it in the epic song Esaawa y’okuzaawa, men are born naked and crying, they are buried naked and crying (…Ensi Bwetujiyingirira mubiwoobe, mwetujinnyukira mu biwoobe).

The song touches upon the theme of death and not so markedly the theme of equality. But we shall currently borrow his thesis to substantiate a vital equality point viz just as all men are born naked and crying with none born robed, we are all thus equal and equally deserving of all life’s opportunities and giftings. So just as Maama Nnabagereka can have the choice of putting herself at the emotional and physical avail of a King, so does Akazaana Akataasoma Rose Nansikombi.

Finally, there are these moralists that claim that the Kabaka being (or expected to be the paragon of good character and virtues), even be it as it was in the search of an heir agreeable to custom, or be whatever as it may, ought not to have condescended so low as to procreate outside his marriage moreover going as far, they authoritatively assert and insist, snatching  another man’s woman(muk’omusajja) to achieve the purpose.

I also strongly feel and think that this charge cannot, guided by reason and commonsense, be sustained.

My own opinion, Abwooli, is that procreation is the greatest form and highest expression of morality for it helps preserve a race. There can never be any morality in a vacuum. For it to exist, there must be a people to express it and give it perspective. Thus where such a people are absent, partly because of some warped and corrosive social or religious constraints, a morality is doomed and such word as it is- ‘morality’ and the practice thereof, ceases to exist.

For those reasons, I most warmly congratulate the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Fredrick Muwenda Mutebi II, upon expanding the house of Kato- Kimera; the Bazzukulu ba Mugalula ab’Nseenene for owning a future King and Omuzaana Rose Nansikombi for making these my most honest congratulatory remarks useful and meaningful. Oggundendeggunde ayi Ssabasajja: Magulunnyondo; Beene; Chuucu; Muzzukulu w’Muteesa, Sebuufu bwango; Nyanja Temanyiirya.

I must add, Abwooli, that Prince Ssemakookiro looks as serene and delightful as a Rose, Rose being Nansikombi’s name and Nansikombi being the name of Rose!

Kanve wano tebankuba eccupa omanyi bakambwe….

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Nangwa Tincwiire Obuko I

Abwooli Rujumba orutuutu rwo’gwo Omubiitokati muhara wa Bulemu Ashiraf amachura ga Aramanzani Mwirumubi ogu owubutakair’aga , nkumanyisa obwiire, batabalizeho ngu yaali ngonzi muno ya Ise, kandi emanzi muno, Cwa II Kabaleega abanyamirwa’be (ab’omukikaali) ahamu n’Abanyoro n’Abanyorokati boona owubakubyaga (rundi tukwete okuhaisaniza) bati: Ekituule kinobere abeemi; rumomamahanga; omuliisanfuuzi; mbogo emu, bahiigi Magana; Ikingura; kabumba; entale y’aBunyoro ahamu nebindi biingi muno ebinta’sobole kumarayo ahabwa akaanya kake akanyina,–Ik’ara mutowange mbikusoboore.

Eby’omukoro ogwo ogunyakubaire gw’ekitinisa muno kandi gwiina ekigendeerwa eky’okugaara buhyaka emiringo rundi tubweete oburomborombo obw’ediini yaitu ey’obusiraamu ahamu n’ engeso zaitu nk’abanyoro bikangwiibwa omumatu ogu nyokwenkuru Akiiki omugonzebwa Omufumambogo.

Emambya ekaba nekyasara eti pa-pa-p, obwo ensi nekyarumu obutiti ekiro kyakatanu ebirobyokweezi 9 ebyokwomwenda, 2011- abasiraamu bagyeeta Juma’a, mwenewaanyu kandi mukuruwaawe Isaaka Kugonza rw’ombule Isentoicwe enganzi muno omusomesa Kirungi Sulaiman, obu naaraba aha rukomo rw’endeetabigambo yange (mungambo yabirobinu niyo esimu) na’bindetera nk’okubyakabaire ebigambo.

Ngu, nkulengaho kumanyisa ebigambo, Isentoicwe omubazi w’ebitabu omurongo Amooti Isingoma na’manyisa okuraba omuliwe ngu halibayo omukoro, owe hali Kikwananana, og’wokutaaha enju ahamu n’okusiima Nkya- Nyamuhanga, ogu atakohya okusobozesa mukaikuruwe, kandi nanyowe owange Kahunde, kuhikya omwaka gumu omunsi enu.

Ngu abairege nanyeta?, Tindakubiihe ngu manyire. Ngu abairege n’amanyisabumanyisa? Mananukwo. Baitu egyo teriniyo engiga ekukirayo obukuru ahabwaaki nkuhandiikiire, omusambu Abwooli, omwitumbi linu. Omunyongooro nk’okugwahikire haiziba batakimanye abo boona nk’okubwabaire buzaale bwaabu okurahuka. Omunyongooro gukahika!

Nanyowe ninkusaba n’obubundaazi bwamaani muno ngu onyeikirize ngeende mpora orundi nanyowe ndihika aha ngiga endeteire kuhandiikira. Baitu okubanza kwabyoona, kambanze njune akatahyo kanu akatwekerwe, nk’omwisiki omuhara, kyokora ganu maize ebyo ebinyakukabamu- tugambirege amaizi. Eiroho libaire lyanyita…

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

An Impassioned Plea for Moses Kigambo- Araali

Man behind the Voice

Not a while so long a time ago upon these very Zuckerberg lands, I heralded to frontmost message of affliction befallen of which was one of art’s tenderly own- Moses Kigambo-Araali.

Araali was born only 34- years ago in Nyakabura village, Kabarole District, Western Uganda. He is son of Kijuma and proud grandson to Erinadi Kaahwa of the Mwenge branch of the Basiita Clan. It is said- and solemnly affirming the elders that watched calf grow into bull do, that he began exploring his voice’s staggeringly rich goldfields at only age thirteen! – that even the astrologists he tended consult told him that fame, power, influence and fortune were within his stars!

Astrology often presents its own miracles and debacles, its own temptations and and wonderments that only the initiated- in- faith can bravely withstand without lingering in their minds thoughts of ever crossing the Creed Bridge! That audacious prophesy about a young boy’s fate was to so amazingly unfurl as clearly and coherently as it was in the beginning said.

Thus Kigambo by the year 2009 had become a household name as well as a powerful crowd- magnet not only attracting those in his homeland Tooro- Rwenzori region, but also not offensively smelling for those within and not without the original boundaries of the once illustrious Empire of Bunyoro- Kitara.

From the Mwitanzige to the Rweru, from the Lands up North to Mountains rolling down South, –these songs have been commonplace even on Sound Solo Radios of the old: Ekirale, Eitaka http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqTGwnTXCx4&feature=related , Akairima zigi zigi, Otalyebwa Omuka  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe0AFls63vM&NR=1  or Kyamanywaga oha  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe0AFls63vM&NR=1 ….

 In fact, such was the brand of fame that providence flung and thrust upon Araali that he even went as far as scooping the coveted KISMA International Award in Kenya in 2008 and the Rotary International Vocation Award for 2008 not to unpardonably forget the tens of local awards that he grabbed back and forth, to and fro as if he were a glutton.

The Music and Message

In his regal and patient baritone, Kigambo effectively employs traditional vocal weaponry and stratagems whilst pulling off his many musical coups. His message is astoundingly powerful and colorful. His delivery of it is as wonderful and mathematical. His lyrics, though not long, are rich and captivating.

In his first major work Ekirale http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiILP1_2U4U , Kigambo passionately rallies all of his tribesfolk- whom he endearingly praise- names as Ndayange, to rudely shun the corrupt and deceitful and concentrate instead on constructing and leaving behind only glittering legacies. For Political leaders, Ekirale is a loud call to conscience.

In the song he also wonders whence went the pride and prominence of his most beloved Tooro Kingdom.He’s nostalgic about the Galihuma age when the Kingdom province of Galihuma was a learning hub of Greater Bunyoro Kitara and a notable one in the whole intellacustrine. He deeply reminisces about the lofty feats and glorious maneuvers of his forefathers and urgently calls for cultural revival.

Toil and Tears 

All this glitz and grandeur was however  brought to an abrupt halt when, after performing in his native Kabarole two years ago, he was brutally besieged and attacked by ‘thugs’ for reasons unbeknown but only to them. He has been in hospital since 2009 and is now sadly confined to a wheel chair. Once a boisterous performer on and off stage, the sight of a thin, weak and hapless Araali in that chair is greatly unnerving.

Resulting from the attacks, the ailment began as a mild malaria attack that saw him admitted to Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital and later Mulago. There, a series of expensive tests showed that he suffered a lumbar puncture that in consequence led to paraplegia– a tomblike spinal cord injury.

At Mulago in December 2010, he was told that the situation was dire and needed an urgent operation to the tunes of 70M UGX which he never had due to the long financially exhausting stay at Fort Portal Hospital.

In the mean time Kigambo, even when confined to a bed rest, continues to perform but in the wheel chair. This is against the doctor’s clear prescriptions for rest but he says he has nothing to do as he has to use his voice to try and raise funds for his treatment. Says he: ‘I am still rolling in my wheel chair looking for support in schools and churches around. I need more than 70M for the operation’. But clearly, he cannot raise 70M from this wheelchair even if he wished.

His wife, Lucy Komukyeya dresses, bathes and takes him to the toilet daily. ‘This has affected my ego as a man and a singer because am the bread- earner with four children. The first born is a girl in Senior Two. They need food and school fees’, so bewails Kigambo.

Helping Hands

A bank account has specifically been opened up for this purpose for those that may be willing to heed humanity’s call and help Moses Kigambo- Araali at Post Bank Uganda, Fort Portal Branch, Account No. 1330800000187 in the names of Kigambo, Pochi and Kaibu. Mobile Money can be sent to MTN +256 781 256 467 and UTL +256 718 746 186.

*********

Blessed are they that give…

Araali looking and singing sorrow to raise his operation charges....

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

We call Government back to Sanity

(Press Release of the 15th April 2011 delivered at 9: 30am)

Brothers and Sisters from the Press, We are both taken aback and pained by the brutal determination and commitment that the Gen Museveni Government -through its fearful security apparati, is recklessly showcasing in its quest of curtailing the civil liberties of Ugandans.

We are concerned also and equally puzzled about the ‘bomb- the- mosquito’ approach that the Uganda Police- an entity whose founding fathers envisioned would protect, guard and guide both public order and the rights of the citizenry,  has favored in its latest engagements with unarmed freedom- calling civilians. Adorning themselves in sad war- gear and carrying with them sophisticated war implements, we squarely reject and spit upon the disgraceful manner in which our leaders have been arrested, charged and shot at.

It was German Cleric Pr. Martin Niemoller who penned these historical lines in his First They Came Poem:  First they came for the communists/and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist./Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. /Then they came for the Jews,/ and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew./Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.  It is in such a spirit that we’ve taken it upon ourselves to speak aloud for those that fear their voices would be brutally muzzled if they dare spoke. We know the risks involved.

The recent actions by the Mr. Museveni  Administration starkly run counter to Uganda’s  obligations under the various international covenants like; The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights not to gesture towards Chapter IV of  the 1995 Constitution of this good Republic that guarantee everyone the right to peaceful assembly and demonstrations.  We therefore call upon the government to reclaim its humanity and respect these inherent and fundamental rights of all its citizens.

We call also upon Gen Museveni to immediately order his security outfits to stop using unjustified lethal force against protesters. He should in the alternative work to restore public confidence in the security services and to ensure that the security force’s responses are strictly proportionate to the threats they face in any given situation.

Finally, we wish Dr. Kizza- Besigye and those that were hurt in this face- off quickest recovery. Sympathies also, to the bereaved that may have lost dear ones in the scuffle.

We have been so much hesitant and patient in joining the ensuing debacle. But, we warn that we are going to call thousands of students to the streets if the situation remains as alarming as it is.

For God and My Country.

Kyomuhendo- A. Ateenyi

Chairman Forum for Democratic Change FDC/ IPC – Makerere University.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Kalashnikov Freedom: The story of my Second Arrest

Abwooli Rujumba Omurungi w’Abasambu, I was arrested again! This is what exactly happened. But this time round, please do not let my people know of this particular escapade. Osome Ohune, Otalindiisa Obune bw’Empisi bairaba okabagambira;

To Hoima

Tempted on by the unforgettable words of the American Civil War veteran, Political Leader, and Orator during the Golden Age of Freethought- Robert G. Ingersoll, that; ‘He loves his country best who strives to make it best.’, I willingly accepted Najjanankumbi’s assignment to lead a delegation, 50- strong, to the oil- drenched clays and loams of my birth- Bunyoro, successor a kingdom to the Glorious Bunyoro- Kitara Empire that once was.

Journeys to even a single foot of Bunyoro soil have always inspired the finest and most altruistic of human emotions from the Millet Gatherer’s Son ever since he was milk- teethed. Thus he felt no different even this time round. In fact, he felt way far happier now that in addition to the trappings of exploration and adventure, he was participant in the furtherance of  an ideal, – a democratic society properly so- called, that he so desperately cherishes.

If I may say, I never measured equal to that task if taken by all its specifics. Why? Due to irritating Network hitches of almost all the Telecommunication Giants- MTN, UTL, Warid and Zain on the 1st of March 2011 around Makerere University, I only managed to mobilize a company of 19 students instead of the ‘contract’ 50. Destination: Hoima. Assignment: Polling agents of Mr. Atugonza Francis, mayoral candidate for the Hoima Municipality seat. Voting Date: 2nd March 2011. Having taken the last Bus- one such of Link Courier services, we reached Hoima a few minutes to mid- night.

With me were: Mr. Kigongo Ayub, Mr. JP Rubagumya, Mr. Wabulembo Robinson, Mr. Kalegga Michael, Mr. Okumu- Magara Steven, Mr. Kwezi Godfrey, Mr. Mutumba Michael, Mr. Besigye Bright, Mr. Musika Nicholas, Mr. Tamale Bashir, Mr. Kimuli Ibrahim, Mr. Wamanga Enock, Mr. Pakoyo Abdul- Latif, Mr. Kaddu Henry, Mr. Ategeka Moses, Mr. Tumusiime Deo, Mr. Lubega Rashid and Mr. Mutunzi David.

Fro Hoima

How the whole electoral process was handled, conducted and concluded is not the reason as to why I am writing. But if am just persuaded to throw a hint, then I would say that it was unsurprisingly no different from its sham predecessors. We left Hoima at about 12pm by LINK Bus registration number UAM 370L that was being driven by a one Mr. Musa. Tyre to Tarmac, the journey was on the broad smooth except for a few isolated incidents where ‘youthhood- madness’ got the better of my colleagues’ heads as they started competively chanting their Hall loyalty in slogans like: ‘Eh Lumumba Oyee!’ ‘Eh Lumumba Oyee!’ ‘Eh Mitchell Oyee!’ ‘Eh Mitchell Zee!’ ‘Eh Box Oyee….!

But as we were snaking through the outskirts of Wakiso District the Link way- just by a rusty signpost reading JESA Dairy Farm, we were all of a sudden intercepted by a heavily manned Road- Block of both Police and the Army. The latter’s green camouflage bore the initials ‘ES’ shoulder- high. The Bus was flagged to stop… A huge silence…Recitations of Swahili Poetry…Fear now etched deep down in the marrow…Whispers and sign language….More Swahili Poetry served…This time raw….In enters three Police Constables…Armed to the teeth…not smiling…looking like death itself…Musa ordered to roll wheels…A further few kilometers….Now at Kakiri….Corner negotiated….Prof. Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya Poster…all yellow….heavy army presence on both sides of the road…a meter apart of one another…And this now is Kakiri Police Station!

Soldiers take cover…Fighting positions…Guns cock…Brows cringe…about 80 by the count…Swahili Poetry…Road to Station cordoned off….‘Come down’ ‘Come down’ ‘From here to there, all of you come down’ ‘Come Downnnnn’…. Superintendent Kalule his name is- ‘We know you are 20…where is the 20th?’…‘Kaa Chini’…‘Hand over your phones…’ ‘What do you call yourselves?!’…Car comes…UG xxxxC…‘So these are the ones’…Camera’s flash…Flash and Flash…!

Bags combed…Literature taken…which literature?…Campaign posters… Mr. Atugonza Francis… Mr. Baguma Patrick Jolly…Letters of appointment as Polling agents…FDC/IPC Change is coming T. Shirts…19…3 Blue Vuvuzelas…confiscated…‘Criminals…Criminals…Criminals…Sit Down…Sit Down…’…Boot in ribs…shrill groan…shrill cry…Aghhh…Details taken…Like Factory Sardines, packed into a stinking corridor…darkness…darkness…Bags returned…Photos again taken…Individually… ‘One Man. One T. Shirt’… ‘Ingia Ndani….Muyingiye NdaniHaraka…’

Police Truck waiting… All of us…19….enter…Soldiers…enter…18 in Truck…16 with Kalashnikov assault rifles…What happened to smiling…A penal crime?…Kalashnikov Freedom…2 with Sub- Machine Guns…Two cars in front…Siren blaring…Superintendant Kalule…Two behind….Towards Kampala…!

Ride of Fame

The Truck moved at breakneck speed as though there was a dying inside it. It is interesting how this convoy of vehicles moved at such bullet- speed without ramming into one another. Sirens were still busy talking. The dark- skinned soldier by our truck’s exit did the ridiculous. Slowly, steadily and confidently, he started unscrewing the chamber within which was a meticulously arranged chain of bullets.

Seated next to him was Mutunzi. Now, Mutunzi proved to be the most fearful of our lot. At the sight (the dark- skinned soldier exhibition), he was overwhelmed by fear. I guess those near him must have all of a sudden felt a warm substance wet them. This same fear guided him to solace in his palms which he used to hide his head and face in a fashion of a mother grieving her lone child! The enthusiastic exhibitioner could not control his laughter!!

We attracted attention wherever we passed. As we reached Mulago Round about the convoy took a sharp turn and moved towards Yusuf Lule Rd. Most of us thought we were being led straight to CMI…the dreaded Uganda Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence! Every one of us looked in Mutunzi’s direction. Peal after peal of laughter helped us lighten the moment.

But our whole Bodyguard was not yet content. They warned us of the consequences of uttering a word, let alone laughing! We religiously obliged- as though we were criminals. You see, it was in the heat of this moment that I first realized that just as a soldier takes a superior’s order devotedly even in utter disregard and rejection of commonsense, so he expects to be obliged by the civilian. He also has a turn to receive what he gives. Now this was one such a time.

Central Police Station (CPS)

We reached CPS at around or about 6pm. Under strict instructions, we were told to disembark off the truck one by one—just that—one by one. So we obligingly did. We were then ordered to sit in a certain pattern along the many stairs that lead to the station reception. All this time we were being guarded like Gold- fat Port- laden trucks from a Katanga Gold mine! All one could see was Green camouflage and Blue Camouflage. As members of the Press started trickling in, we were shifted to what the ‘bay’: The Backyard. We were ordered to pair up—PRA suspect style! There was even an attempt on the side of police to improvise for lack of handcuffs with orders that we fasten our shirts- ends together and notch them in a way old women notch their over- flowing gomesis! I outrightly rejected this. They surprisingly complied.

We were ordered to sit in rows of five- Quiet as satisfied tombs! We were denied even the ‘luxury’ of leaning against the dirty wall! ‘You’ll do that in your homes. Not here. You are criminals!’- So roared Hajuso, the notorious light skinned Constable. He was carrying along with him three black V’s. In the army he would be a Sergeant. He furiously shouted: ‘Wee Mchunge Saana….Tutakata M****o zeenyu’ loosely translated to mean that we should stand warned lest, like bulls, we suffer the indignity of our manhood(s) getting castrated!

Then came a 3- diamond studded officer on whose left breast was inscribed the name Chemusto. In the army he would be a Captain. He warned us against ‘whatever was up our sleeves’. That we were inconsequential, that we cannot fight ‘government’. At this I consulted my inner colleague who pondered: ‘If truly he says we are inconsequential, then why all this hullabaloo? Why all this Military presence? Why all this parade of force? Why all these insults? Why? Why? Why?!’ He never heard this.

All my short activism life I have grown up to believe that the Institution of Police is a brutal and repressive one only dotted by humans as cruel and barbaric. But this amiable gentleman whose name I did not get impressed me a lot and sowed seeds of belief in me that be the status quo as it may, there are some individuals left in it that are still possessed of their humanity. Despite the fact that there still are the Hajusos, the Chemustos and Aruhos, there are also the Karungis and this Gentleman who still honor their uniform, who still honor the oath they took protect and serve the people of Uganda- whether professing the ‘right’ political creed or the ‘wrong’ one!

Release

CID officers came by and took statements from us in which we detailed our ordeal. They too, like the Karungis (refer to my first arrest) and the other Gentleman, were possessed of such magnetic personalities. In their midst were not criminals, thugs or anarchists but brothers, sons, kinsmen and In- laws. Immediately after this exercise was concluded, we started seeing humanity return to even faces of people like Hajuso.

I think they had realized that we were just harmless stubborn students totally unconnected to what our brothers in the State love to so often christen as Anarchists. Just because we were professing a wrong political religion. The religion of change whose High Priest, a Medical Doctor by calling, was contentedly smiling on the sky- blue T. Shirts that had been earlier on in the day classified in the category of  ‘Loot- of- War’.

At about 7pm, our phones were released. Our T-shirts returned along with our Dignity. Our fears exorcised. Even Mutunzi’s. But most importantly, our freedom, so arbitrarily and highhandedly hijacked from us, returned. We walked to freedom at about 7:30pm.

And such was my (our) torment.

Postscript

I know, as well as my colleagues do, that all these hijackings are being staged with only one purpose in mind. According to the scrip- writers, they think in their mother of hearts that such experiences, if periodically staged and portrayed, shall intimidate some of us into wavering. At least that is their distinguishable purpose. They think that by exposing us to Tank, Barrel and Boots, we shall mellow. But they are wrong- outrightly wrong! We shall not cease to project our voices. We shan’t. We just cannot!

It is not because we wish to live lives of fugitives. No, we too love the niceties of luxury. But the whole problem is that thing called conscience. So dear! Prof. Justice G.W Kanyeihamba writes that ‘The loss of money is bad. The loss of time is worse. But the loss of name is such that no man can restore’. Some of us are not ready to lose our names. For he who fails to conquer fear shall in turn be conquered by fear along with all its attendant evils.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Politics

 

My Arrest

Abwooli Rujumba Omurungi w’Abasambu, in these far- off lands that father spent and sent me to bring him a white man’s Bachelors, I was recently arbitrarily arrested and detained! This is my ordeal. n’Aboomuka Olinkonyera Obagambe. Son of my father, Please also, let my people know.

Prologue

Organised at the Great Lumumba Hall of Makerere University on Friday the 25th day of February 2011 was an event that the day’s Organisers chose to dub ‘The Grand Ancestral Night’. These days, the event is just but a shadow of its former self, somewhere and somehow lacking in Revelry’s rigour and vigour. But nevertheless it did happen. And we did enjoy.

The Fest was organised by the Hall’s outgoing Senior Common Room (SCR) members led by my brother and friend Mr Abimanya Albert- the Hall Chairman.  Invited were a host of guests most notable of which was Mr Namara Dennis- the Youth League Supremo of what I am tempted to address as the ‘Illegitimately’ Ruling National Resistance Movement- Organisation.

Voguely viewed, Mr Namara was clad in a shiny sky- grey suit inside of which was a sad- yellow Polo T. Shirt emblazoned on which again was a portrait of an unidentified handsome and peacefully looking old man (probably in his 70s, probably not)  all smiling and hatting. This fashion coup was completed and complemented by a yellow- coloured ‘Ernest Bazanye’ cap. The Old Man’s portrait yet again comfortably settled on the beautifully tailored cap. I found Dennis’ personality charming and alluring- just like any of a very ambitious young man.

He resumed the floor. Paid homage to Gongom. To the Ancestors of Lumumba. To the Hall’s glorious history. To its fallen martyrs. And finally to the other Old Man whose name he told us was Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. As he wrapped up his speech, he brought us greetings from the latter whom he said was willing to ‘work’ with us. The students present, most of whom were bedecked in blue ‘Change is Coming’ T. shirts, longingly jeered at these last remarks. He ungrudgingly bade farewell and made haste for a destination unknown. Meanwhile, the party happened on. Time check: 11pm.

Arrest

Time check: 11:30pm. Feeling rather digestionally unsteady, I decided to run to Wandegeya to eat and drink away the day’s hunger. Since it is repugnant to my personal constitution to move out of University beyond 8pm, I summoned the company of my friend Kiirya Samson with whom we moved to and fro Wandegeya. Time Check: 11:45pm. We ate supper the Tipsy way (There is a famous eating joint in Wandegeya called Tipsy Restaurant) and thereafter headed back straight to Makerere University.

But no sooner had we arrived at the Main Gate without even an ounce of any of the known implements of violence, a saloon car came hurrying our direction- almost ramming into us. Out disembarked a rather fat moustached man of medium height and austere command that angrily shouted out these Swahili Incantations: ‘Wee Simama Hapo!’, ‘Kaa Chini!’, ‘Towa Viato!’…….! I think after noticing that we may not be an easy lot to randomly boss around, he started regaining the sobriety that is only characteristic of humans- not animals or beasts. The bodily features of this man when well studied and scrutinised revealed only one thing- that he was Hima or a Munyankore.

He was ashamed of his own name, and probably his actions, reason why he chose to keep us in the dark about his identity. We courteously insisted that he identifies himself as we would not look on let alone accept to be interrogated or whisked away by a stranger  totally unbeknown to us who at this time was now claiming to be an intelligence officer in charge of Kampala extra. I pulled out my Black Leather Wild Tribe wallet and fast identified myself. But as bad luck would have it, my colleague Kiirya Samson had not carried along his ID. The Police constables manning security at the main gate came close to see the short- staged drama unfold, both in disbelief and wonderment!

Having earlier on built a warm relationship with them, they instead started pleading my case. That I was prominent student leader well known to them. That they had just seen us stroll out of the university a few minutes back. That we were harmless and unarmed. And that he should let us free. At this, the herald of mischief barked at the constables to steer free of this matter as it was not their business. A deathly silence followed…..

He started by alleging that he had been following us to and fro Wandegeya. That all this time he had been keenly watching our demeanour. That he found it suspect. That three army patrol vehicles ‘have’ just rounded up a group of 70 individuals from the place Katanga (only heaven knows when I’ll first set foot there!) arming and harming with catches, catches and catches of weaponry long discovered way back in the iron age- spears, arrows and bows, pickaxes, knives and rods. That thanks to our demeanour, we were part of them!

I do not up to now know what the seemingly unschooled lad meant by the word demeanour- but I can only take a guess and say that maybe the word he even was archaically mentioning meant being Party Branch President of FDC/ IPC Makerere University or being seen cladding the FDC/ IPC T. shirts on which were emblazoned the words ‘President Kizza Besigye: Change is Coming!’.

And I guess again that it were these same words that were inciting violence- the charge he preferred against us when were taken to police. The same charge for which we spent the night behind bars. The same words for which we were forced to bear the putrefaction in the cell. The same words for which our freedoms were arbitrarily hijacked. And the same words for which we were forced to carry 100kg Posho sacks on the chilly morning of February the 26th!

He told us to Panda Gaali and he takes us for questioning. I out- rightly rejected his sinister suggestion and vehemently told him that he had no arresting powers, he was not a police constable, he was a private citizen like myself- in my view, his car bore private number plates and that how would he really expect a legally sober citizen of this country like myself to bee ensnared by his unintelligent tricks. I bravely protested against this armed man in the process attracting the bystanders’ attention and sympathy. Seeing that he was staking his own life if he insisted on his unconscionable demands thanks to the people that had already thronged the scene in mammoths and hundreds, he yielded.

We were to late enter his car with a constable of our own choosing, leaving the in- charge security main gate with our details by our own writing and conditions of our transportation of our own liking. We were then driven to Wandegeya Police Station. Time check: 12am.

Behind Bars

We were led to the reception of the said Police Post by the man and ‘our’ constable’. He told the officer in charge that he had ‘arrested’ us at the main gate and was linking us to the notorious group of 70 already mentioned above. By physical build, I am a rather short and frail young man but truth be told, I was willing to stake all and descend on this gigantic lumpen, claws sank into his shapeless neck like the leopard, and mercilessly squeeze useless life out of useless body.

For how could he assert in the beginning that he had trailed us from Muk to Wandegz and back and then at the same time assert that we were part of the Notorious Katanga 70?!!

At what time and moment then did we join the Katanga 70, in less than 30 minutes, without his knowledge him who claims was trailing us to and fro Wandegz? Could sleep have somehow stolen him only for a moment—in which time lag we sped to Katanga and back just the time he woke up?! Anyway Kyomuhendo- A. Ateenyi is so much occupied by more useful matters that he refuses to glorify such allegations with a response.

I was later to learn that this operatives name is Lt Kagina Eric– true to my Hema/ Nkole root suspicions!

Release

Yielding to mounting pressure from my Party President Dr Kizza Besigye (he sent the Chief of Security FDC/IPC Mr Angolinga who came and told me to be strong, that he was in touch with Police CID Chief Edward Ochom and another Commissioner in charge of the Politics bench at Uganda Police who gave him assurance that I would be immediately released…), the press, civil society organisations, my Committee at FDC Muk Branch and other students, not only IPC- leaning but also freedom and Justice loving who had already handed down an ultimatum for my release breach of which they threatened would throw the University into turmoil up till I was released, Bond papers were hurriedly processed, filled and signed. I walked to Freedom at 6:30pm to the exact.

Case Details

Police Form 18: Police Bond: Ref. 04/26/02/ 2011 and was executed by the extremely amiable D/IP Karungi Rashid. My sureties were: Okello Isaac and Mugisha Nelson. Dated this 26th Day of February 2011.

Epilogue

Freedom is not a commodity that is given to the enslaved upon demand; it is a precious reward, the shining trophy of struggle and sacrifice. ~Dr Kwame Nkrumah

*****

Neither brutality, nor cruelty, nor torture will ever bring me to ask for mercy, for I prefer to die with my head unbowed, my faith unshakeable and with profound trust in the destiny of my country, rather than live under subjection and disregarding sacred principles.  ~Patrice Emery Lumumba in his last letter to his wife Pauline Lumumba

******

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.  ~Thomas Paine

******

Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

*******

Here is my advice as we begin the century that will lead to 2081.  First, guard the freedom of ideas at all costs.  Be alert that dictators have always played on the natural human tendency to blame others and to oversimplify.  And don’t regard yourself as a guardian of freedom unless you respect and preserve the rights of people you disagree with to free, public, unhampered expression.  ~Gerard K. O’Neill, 2081

******

For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Neither brutality, nor cruelty nor torture will ever bring me to ask for mercy, for I prefer to die with my head unbowed, my faith unshakable and with profound trust in the destiny of my country, rather than live under subjection and disregarding sacred principles. ~Patrice Emery Lumumba, 1961.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Politics

 

The Banyoro Peoples of the Interlacustrine I

The Banyoro! Who are they? Who were they not?!

They had powerful, inspiring legends. Their music was varied, skilfully and carefully made: with the pod-rattle (ebinyege), drums modulated that they seemed to retell the listener a little forgotten secret, the nanga, gentle clapping and ululations of women as if moaning, a blend that was so delightfully completed by the sublime turnings and twistings of the dance artisan whose legs of talent left all in the arena gasping for dear breath! How cruel he was!!

This stanza is is extracted from my poem- Europe Learns About Africa.  In a pride,/ They surged forth like hunting leopards/ And found you black beloved/ Jumping to the rhythm Of the dance with pod rattles/ Affixed tightly on your legs of talent.

This stanza is is extracted from my poem- Europe Learns About Africa. In a pride,/ They surged forth like hunting leopards/ And found you black beloved/ Jumping to the rhythm/ Of the dance with pod rattles/ Affixed tightly on your legs of talent.

They cherished their long- necked spears and finger- millet ears. The prefix Kitara, as was the Kingdom’s name in antiquity, literary translates to mean a Blunt Bayonet. Thus,  should it surprise the inquisitive bystander, fond friend- of the keen listener and next- of- kin to the edacious reader, that the Kingdom, some like Yours Truly,- audaciously call it an Empire, is a product of the Blunt Bayonet?

Bunyoro- Kitara was very- very- very- very extensive, prestigious and famous thanks to war and conquest, her superior battle- stratagems, an artful spy network and an immaculate diplomacy. At the zenith of its power in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, tradition heroically boasts that Her territory extended from into the modern Sudan in the North, spread over much of Uganda, Northern Tanzania, Eastern Congo and some parts of Rwanda and Urundi.

Throne of God: Nyamyaro the great throne of the Omukama of Bunyoro- Kitara. It is more than a millenium old and, like the Banyoro People, has a long, proud and rich history. It was handed down by The Batembuzi Gods to the Bachwezi Demi- Godswho in turn also also handed it down to The Babiito who incumbently reign. Photo Courtersy of Bunyoro- Kitara.Org.

Throne of God: Nyamyaro the great throne of the Omukama of Bunyoro- Kitara. It is more than a millenium old and has a great history and heritage. It was handed down by the Batembuzi to the Bachwezi who also handed it down to The Babiito, the reigning royal house.

Myth recalls that there have been three dynasties of rulers. First there were the Tembuzi, who were from the beginning. Then there came the rule of the Demi- Gods, the Chwezi, who departed from the Kingdom only after two or three generations. Lastly was the reign of the Biito dynasty, of whom the reigning monarch- Rukirabasaija Agutamba Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I loftily claims descent.

The reign of the Bachwezi is shrouded in mystery and legend, so much so that many traditional Gods still bear names of Chwezi kings- Ndahura is venerated as the God of small pox. The Bachwezi are often associated with great earthwork sites found in Western Uganda. Archaeological discoveries made at Bigo bya Mugenyi, the capital of the empire, located in present day Mubende District of Uganda, reveal rich deposits of an urban centre which represented a highly organized society, in fact a whole civilization. Bigo bya Mugenyi is to the Banyoro what Tenochtitlan would have been to the Aztecs- a gaunt witness of a vivid past.

When the darling cow Bihogo died followed just behind by a spate of ominous events, word was sent around the Empire for the true connotation of this. The famous diviner Nyakoko from Bukidi and his little- known brother Karongo, like biblical Joseph before them, interpreted it to mean that the Chwezi reign had to unfortunately come to an end and that they the Cwezi should leave lest they be infested with worst pestilence and inexpressible suffering. Confounded and trembling, Wamara and all of his noble relation made haste for a destination unknown. Who the Bachwezi were may never be known until archaeology finally awakens with an answer.

Thus where the Bachwezi stamped foot leaving, the Babiito stamped feet coming. Any attempt to pinpoint the exact dates of this exodus, or any other dynasty before it, is pure conjecture; as there were no written records at the time but memories of men. Modern day historians place the beginning of the Babiito dynasty at around the time of the invasion of Bunyoro by the Luo from the North. The first Mubiito king was Isingoma Mpuga Rukidi I born of a woman Nyatworo daughter of Labongo.

There have been twenty- seven Luo- Biito Kings in total that have graced the great throne Nyamyaro of Bunyoro- Kitara. Yet from the rule of the 17th Biito monarch, there has been a tasteless legend of crisis and decline, which has sunk deep into modern Kinyoro consciousness. By the time the first European came to Bunyoro, the Empire of Kitara was much reduced; Toro and Ankole had broken away to form separate kingdoms, whilst Buganda was encroaching to the East. Indeed during the reign of Kyebambe III Nyamutukura (1786-1835) decline reached catastrophic proportions. The situation was no better during Omukama Kyebambe IV Kamurasi’s reign!………

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Pan- African