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My Journey of Uganda


It is a lovely Saturday morning and I leave Kasese for Kampala. Between Kasese and Fort Portal I would have two major stops. Three actually. One to buy sweet bananas. I am a Kisii. Bananas are sacred in Kisii. The second is to buy honey. I stock Ugandan honey for various reasons known to me. One of them is that I do not trust Kenyan sugar peddled as honey by some fake Maasai whose real names could be Nyambane or Mwangi. Also sugar may have mysteriously found its way into the Mwingi and Kitui honey. Considering that sugar in Kenya is not sugar actually. Could be mercury, you know. I am safer with honey from Kabarole. The third stop should be to admire nature, greet a beautiful woman on the way or even just pee. In Tanzania they say kuchimba dawa. It could be one of the three, two of the three or all of three. Kuani iko nini?! But there is a fought stop actually. At the Kingdom of Tooro. Who in their right mind bypasses that? It is a beautiful place to behold. When at the palace there is a breathtaking view of Fort Portal. Fort Portal is Uganda’s cleanest town, perhaps the most beautiful too. But isn't the whole of Uganda beautiful anyway? Be the judge. Talking about beauty. Give it to them. Accept. If you don’t, we shall make you do. There are beautiful things in Western Uganda; beautiful cows (bulls inclusive). The Ankore cows are nice to behold. They have long horns. None like them. Women too. But I have never known how different they are from Rwandan women, especially Tustsi. Actually, I am yet to learn where Uganda ends and Rwanda starts. Reminds me of those old days when I was reading philosophy in Nairobi. There was this group of people who always confused me. They were Tanzanians and Ugandans speaking same language. Rukiga. From Bukoba to Bukinda there is unique intercourse with complicated orgasms. You see now. I also don’t know where Uganda ends and Tanzania starts. Those are mysteries only participants of the Berlin conference - dead white men - know. So. I stop over at Fort Portal and have lunch. Chicken kienyeji and all food. Only we know what all food is. But Uganda is blessed. There is lots of fresh food. Those guys in Kayihura would give some to me for free. I only needed to tell them something interesting. Something like Museveni will soon leave power. I would buy fresh meat. At Mubende, I would stop to purchase roasted bird (hopefully chicken) gizzards. Most of the time it was one gizzard and the rest were hearts and liver of birds disguised as gizzards. Conmen! Made not born. People are virgins to the notion of fake until they mix with Chinese, I hear. Those guys owe me lots of genuine gizzards. I swear. And then gonja. Banange! Those things are sweet. Perhaps they are the secrets that Golola Moses isn’t telling the world. Golola is a kick boxer. A champion. Just for those who do not know, although you have no right to know. At least, not through me. But the might Moses, only told us that women melt when they see him. He is a champion. You don’t compete with champions; you only participate in the game so that they can take their glory. Forget it already. One way to Kampala. The city that rules. What don’t you do in Kampala when you have a whole weekend on your side? You start from Ggabba, KK you know, to Munyonyo to Entebbe, Spinner beach, like that, then you come back to the city. From Kabalagala to Wandegeya, to Ntinda, Kiwatule hadi Najjera. They say you are in things Ssebo. You eat life. I miss my friends in Koko bar and lounge. They know me. I know them too. Kampala is good. May he (including she) who says otherwise wither.

But. Getting back to the journey. It would appear all beautiful. Just like the beautiful Lake Albert and beautiful Queen Elizabeth National Park of Western Uganda are. Breathtaking. But It is not all beautiful. There is ugliness too. By the way, when will Uganda return those names to their owners? Albert; Queen Elizabeth etc. Why can’t we have Lake Tumwine or Turyamwesimira National Park? Just wondering! Can’t we name Ugandan waters and Ugandan wild animals after Ugandan people if we must name them after people? Another wonder of the world. In Kiswahili we say ‘maajabu ya ulimwengu.’

Here is the thing. The journey is all beautiful if you are not me. If you are me then there is a story of pain. Anguish. Ugliness. Who destroyed the kingdoms of Western Uganda and why? You will hear stories about Kabarega, Rwenzururu, and then Museveni and then NRA etc etc. Trauma. Stories of horror and scars of war, pain, injury, loss. We are made of memories. I hear the same in Luwero on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

But I do have the courage to proceed. So, on Monday I set off and continue with my journey to the East and finally to the North. I stop at Mbale to shop. Vegetables. Matoke. Everything smells soil and freshness. Then I pull over to Kumi where I stop by to eat Kalo. But I also hear stories of the Mukura massacre. Memories. Why would anyone want to suffocate to death innocent people in a train wagon? Questions linger. Everything dies except memory. But the Atesot are beautiful people. Above all, kind hearted. Last time, I was there, an Atesot girl gifted me a T shirt. It was written: ‘I am proud to be an Atesot’ in front and ‘100% Atesot’ on the back. I wore it until it died. Maybe I should have married there. Palisa or somewhere in between. But I was just a wanderer. So I never did. But Teso is one of the regions, I know of, where mangoes are still wild.

I leave Kumi for Soroti, then Lira and finally into the capital of the North. Gulu city. Long live Gulu. Long time ago I read something titled: ‘Cry the Beloved Country.’ It was about South Africa. Now we can cry again. This time a different cry. Cry the beloved city. Not Augustine’s ‘City of God’ but Gulu. Gulu city. Like Jerusalem, you are great in your own way. You have known war too. You have known suffering. You have known pain. Your land smells of blood. The blood of your sons and daughters. It can only take one a few minutes’ walk on the streets of Gulu before you meet someone whose lips or ears or arms are chopped off. Horror. But why? A mystery. Anyway. I have never met beautiful souls on this hard earth like the Acholi ones. Why did they have to suffer so much? If I were polygamous I would marry one of their own too. Add to the one from the West and another from the East. Three already. Super! But, I am not even monogamous! Tragedy! Let’s forget marriage. Is it indeed true that the Acholi wanted to overthrow a government in Kampala? A government sitting about 300 kilometers away? Isn’t the Kampala government too remote to an average Acholi man, woman, boy and girl? How and why would the Acholi nation be a threat to Kampala? And how did they become victims of their own insurgency?

Wait a minute. Didn’t I have a stopover in Soroti? I did. What are the Americans doing there? Searching for one Joseph Konny? Just how powerful is Konny? If the super power can't find leave alone capture him, then he must be super than the super power. Logic. Konny is a god. Teach your children thus. Tell them about a man that America, "na ujanja wao wote" (in the words of Mwalimu Nyerere) have failed to scan. My friend told me Konny is now sick. He stopped fighting Museveni. He is trading in Ivory and other things like that. Surely, if he is a trader, he must be trading with some other people on the face of the earth, no? Who are those people? Do they have names? Can their names be pronounced? Why can’t we know who buys from Konny and where the market is? Or has Joseph traded in his name. There is old wisdom that ‘trade on anything but a name.’ Did he not hear this? Mysteries. They will tell you these are questions for grownups. If they do, shut up. When you are a child, learn to be seen, not heard. Simple. A child who speaks too much and asks too many questions ‘ni saitani.’ Must have been born hot. Should be watched. Forget Konny. There is lots of cassava in Acholi land. No food beats roasted cassava and smoked fish. Only us know. So we eat, sing, dance etc etc. There is life in Gulu. If you know. You can eat life. I ate life in the north. ‘Kuani iko nini?’

By the way, I really wanted to visit Southern Uganda too. But does Uganda have a South? Or is it part of Lake Victoria? And why, in the name of Kabaka, sa’Bassaja, is the lake’s name still Victoria? A mystery. But, my grandma once told me that the lake (Enyancha in Kikisii) whistles. So, I went to Jinja to listen to its whistles. But instead I made a discovery. Yes. I discovered the source of the mighty River Nile. Who said only white men can discover things? I refused the story that there was some dead white man who discovered the source of River Nile in Lake Victoria. That story is sick. I hate sickness. The community around may have only discovered love I hear. In that part of the world - Busoga - love and sex can be used synonymously. That is Busoga you know. Only people from Tanga, ‘yalipozaliwa mapenzi’ can compete with them I guess. Stories for adults. But while in Jinja, I also came across the statue of Mahatima Gandhi. When is Uganda returning it to India, now that from West Africa new discoveries about Gandhi the racist have surfaced? But hear me people. The Lake or (e)nyancha as they would call it. The latter is a better name. It is truly the biggest secret keeper. If you want to murder and never be known conspire with (e)nyancha. It keeps secrets for long; may be forever. I must have heard from grandma that (e)nyancha also fed on human blood. Yet it doesn’t turn red? Mysteries. If it were to turn red, it would have done it long time ago. When one Field Marshall Iddi Amin Dada, attempted to cleanse Uganda by getting rid of all the disabled people of its land. He drowned them. (E)nyancha swallowed them as if it was nothing and then remained silent to date. The Conspiracy. Mysteries. But you, Uganda (or do we need a different name?) are the Pearl of Africa. I will come to make journeys on your land.
My Journey of Uganda My Journey of Uganda Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on February 06, 2019 Rating: 5

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