To error is human. So is Mathew Kanyamunyu.
But it takes a confident good man to acknowledge their ommissions and commissions by seeking forgiveness.
When you are driving a fantastic car, with a beautiful girlfriend in your company, and a handgun to boot, one may easily become intoxicated with superficial power. There is always that urge to get people who do not know you, to know you there and then. In many cases, it could be fatal.
And that is how Mathew Kanyamunyu found himself in a case that is not easy to reverse or get away from. Human life is sacred. Only God can give it. But anyone can take if they act recklessly. You must always be careful at all times. The laws of nature have a way of singling you out to hold you accountable for your omissions and or commissions. Not even your highly connected friends or relatives can help when the time for accountability comes.
That is enough reason to never lose your head. The first time I ‘lost’ my head, the repercussions were dire. I promised never to let such a thing happen again.
The accident that changed my habits
Sometime in 2013, I was driving from Entebbe to Kampala at about 1:20 pm, after having taken a meal at a restaurant along the way. When the stomach is full, it tells the brain to switch off, which puts the body to sleep. Being alone in the car, I continued driving despite the on-and-off dozing while on the steering wheel. If you have ever felt sleepy behind the wheels you know how tough it is to be focused. But I had a meeting to attend and could not think of parking to take a nap.
I managed to drive from Entebbe to town. Just after the Clock Tower, exactly in front of the Police Firebrigade offices, I had a sudden bug. It was a schoolgirl who was crossing the road. She came from nowhere.
Immediately, my sleep disappeared and was face to face with reality. curfew ensued, as many people starting coming to the scene. I got out of the car, and a young girl was on the road just a few feet from my car bumper. People were coming in from all sides. A good Samaritan pushed me to go the car, signalled me to start the engine it as he picked the girl from the ground, carried her and put her in my car, and said we drive to Mulago asap. Some people had started accosting me, trying to pull the keys away from me. But this man got out, and told them off… “You see the girl needs immediate medical help, let’s go to Hospital if you want to help her…” he told them in Luganda. I was so scared. He asked me to start moving as he secured the girl on his laps….
In hindsight, that stranger man was my angel.
He came to the scene in time and did everything with good intentions. Sometimes, God answers prayers through others. And I will never forget that man who had the presence of mind and a voice of reason and acted swiftly to help both of us.
At Mulago, we sought for first Aid. And I remember, there was a nearby Police Post, where I reported myself after securing the kid for medical attention. The kid had a school badge in her pockets, and the Nurse told us the school she attended. Police asked for facilitation and visited the school.
The kid had crossed from one part of town to another part very distant – like from Luzira to Entebbe road –apparently to see her boyfriend! Children! Anyhow, it ended well. She recovered fully. The car I was driving had brakes which worked that day, and despite my on and off on the steering wheel, I had some sense to react swiftly. At the time, I had busy schedules and used to work long hours. Sometimes the world conspires to help you avoid tough challenges. It would have been tough at that stage in my life, if the accident had been fatal or if I had hit and run from the scene. But I serve a living God.
The school management informed the parents of the girl. In no time, the parents and the teachers arrived at Mulago. After speaking with the medical doctors attending to the girl, they were assured of the health condition and how the accident was not something to worry about. The parents of the child were understanding. They thanked me for having done the right thing to bring their child for quick medical attention, which I was advised helped a lot. They asked for my third party insurance policy to process the insurance compensation, which I gave.
No more money was asked from me. It all ended well. Like my name, I was lucky that the family and parties involved are people who were understanding. To my surprise, I got to learn that the father of the girl was [still is] a Police officer of high rank. He told me, young man, you are lucky. You did not run away like most people who do a hit and run. If you had disappeared, I would have enjoyed looking for you. And I would have caught you.
The point is to error is human. Accidents happen. And I am sure Mathew K was also a victim of some form of accident. Because everyone sins, it is the ability to be remorseful of your sins and seek forgiveness that makes other men different from the rest. The ability to know the right thing to do, and to do it. And the actions by Mathew to subject himself to the local customs and reconciliation practices makes him a man with good intentions. For the spirit of forgiveness, seeking repentance, and being remorseful for his ommissions and or commissions, I announce Mathew my man of September 2020. His actions are reconciliatory and he brings a message of peace. It is easy to sin. But it takes a confident and disciplined man to acknowledge their sins. The world would be a great place if everyone had that kind of conscience.
Anything can happen anytime. Life is so tricky and we should not be quick to judge. But also, the actions by Mathew and my own experience makes a point that traditional justice systems work, and the government should encourage them as they are transparent, instant and could help reduce the case backlog in courts of law.
Looking back and remembering how I made a mistake to continue during a car even when the body had shown weakness, I could have easily caused death to so many other road users for my omission. The rule is simple: while driving and you feel like dozing, park the car in a safe place and take a brief nap. That is the only treatment. I did not do that. And I made an accident that could have been fatal.
The revelation that the person whose daughter I had knocked was a senior Police officer was a sobering revelation. Where a police officer or not, I am expected to act with integrity and always do the right thing.
Unfortunately, I tried to look for the man who had saved me from the goons at the accident scene in vain. I continued trying to look for him with no success. And today, as I wrote this post, I realized that I was not supposed to find him. I was supposed to find you. Good luck driving while you are sober and living a life of integrity.
Today, I always first take a good rest before embarking on long distances. I avoid driving at night. I make sure the car is in good working condition. And if I feel dizzy while driving, I park at the nearest safe place and take a nap. Such practices make driving fun and enjoyable. And above all, always have your insurance policy up to date. Don’t wait for the police to ask it from you. You don’t have to wait for an accident to change your habits on the road.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.