I lost my father when I had just cloaked 12 years young. Coming from a polygamous family, I spent the next two years in court due to fights over the little estate of the deceased. Almost everything was lost to conflict, hatred, witchcraft and selling property at night. We went back to zero.
I immediately started to fend for myself, feeling the heat of lack, shortage and inadequacy of everything. I know what it means to lack fees every term, not having scholastic materials every term, and walking for 16kms every day going to and from school.
I know what it means to feel less than a human being due to being pushed to begging from good-hearted Samaritans. I know what it means to join the petty business as a little boy so as to get my fees, other essentials and also contribute to the survival of my family – has been the only boy among 5 girls — the only “man of the home”, forced into heavy responsibility at a very tender age.
I have had to work my butt off, so that life becomes better.
- I have risen through life using my own sweat and honesty.
- I have built what I now have through diligence and integrity.
- I have built an international organization through sleepless nights, grit, and building trust.
- I have raised a family, looked after my children and cultivated my spouse out of the authentic work of trading my skills and talents.
- I have learnt to refuse bribes and not give them.
- I have become a pillar to many other lives through persistence and character consciousness.
- I have not gotten a favour from anyone in government, on grounds of ethnicity.
- I have actually even failed to get some contracts I competed for because I wasn’t ready to give “kickbacks”.
- I have earned every penny through the merit of my work, the sweat of my body, and the competency of my mind.
- I have built honest relationships with many people from all walks of life and extended a philanthropic hand to many people from all corners of the country and the world at large.
I have only “committed” one big crime: I come from Western Uganda.
I am a Muhororo from Nyabiteete who didn’t participate in choosing where to be born from – just like those that are sadly marginalized because they’re Bagwere. I didn’t decide who my father and mother would be – just like any Alur.
And I am a diligent man who loves my country extremely deeply, trust me. Every time I have gone outside Uganda for my personal work, I have always been a self-appointed ambassador of Uganda, putting on my “Ondaba” shirt from a certain Muganda friend – Belinda. I put on my Uganda coloured cap I bought from Cissy – an awesome Acholi at Crafts Africa. I wrap myself in a big Uganda flag I bought from Mwaami Katende’s bookshop. I am a patriot – one who loves his country. I speak well of my country. I don’t litter my country with mineral water bottles and maize cobs everywhere. I don’t give bribes. I don’t take bribes. Yes. I love my country.
But I have that one crime: Being born from Western Uganda, even when totally unrelated with the ruling family, hundreds of miles away from their home, not belonging to their tribe, never received any favour – financial or otherwise – from any of them, but I have one crime: I take the same road from Kampala going to my home.
Why don’t people deal with individuals who commit their sins without dragging others into it? Why not deal with those INDIVIDUALS in government who perpetrate the evil vice of tribalism within the circle of their cronies?
I remember in 2009 during the Buganda/Kayunga riots involving the Kabaka, my aunt was stoned around Nateete in a bus, taken to Mulago and died a few months later. (I was personally locked up in a restaurant in Ndeeba for 3 hours that day; thanks to God for the protection). But I genuinely hold no grudge at all about people called Baganda… because my aunt was not killed by ALL BAGANDA. It was just some emotionally unintelligent and intolerant man who incidentally was a Muganda, trying to fight for the cause of his Kabaka. Today I have very many close friends who are Baganda – very awesome personal friends, men and women of great character. In fact, I just hired a Muganda professional a few months ago to join my team in my organization. I do not care about his tribe. All I care about is whether he can do a great job and we together pursue the vision of building leaders.
Why can’t the family of the other man who killed my aunt treat me the same way I treated and still treat them? Why can’t they also know that while there is a Westerner who probably grabbed their land, it was that very person’s problem and not connivance with me just because we take the same route going to the village?
I’ve been listening to audios going all around by a certain “Basajja Mivule” filled with venomous, genocide-inciting content again all Westerners which is extremely sad.
This is not the kind of country I dream about – where those in government perpetrate tribalism and those who feel victimized perpetrate retaliation and violence.
And this is why I dream about a transformed political culture of Uganda through values-based operations. And I will vote for whoever I sense stands for these values I espouse: godliness, excellence, integrity, service, love, inclusion, tolerance, impartiality, etc. I won’t care whether he is a Northerner, Westerner, Easterner, or from the Central. I will care about what he/she stands for in relation to what I wish my country.
This explains why I once voted for a northerner for Presidency because I felt he represented a better Uganda then! Even now, I already have a line-up of people from different tribes that I am going to faithfully vote for at different stages of leadership – and I feel happy that I am no longer under the bondage of tribes.
Let there be no more tribalism in Uganda. Let there never again be tribe-based violence in Uganda. I know how uphill this task is but I also know how possible the seemingly impossible is. Like Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
Note: I received this article on my WhatsApp mobile as a forward. I do not write it. And I don’t know the original author/s. The article will teach you a lesson, and that is why I am sharing it. If you share, add this disclaimer.