Opinion: What is the American dream? Is it only for the Americans, or is it a dream for everyone? Essentially, the American dream is constituted if one has job security, insurance where it applies, a complete conventional family, a luxurious house in a fancy neighborhood and enough money to get by for the rest of one’s life.
But it is not the dream that matters because, you see, anyone can dream. Martin Luther had a dream that the Black Americans would be free, and Idi Amin had a dream that all Asians had to go! Even fools dream, nothing special to it. But that doesn’t stop one from dreaming.
I personally dream of a Uganda where we shall at one time have a peaceful change of power. I dream that there may come a time when the Ugandan system of governance is genuine, without corruption and with service above standard. That we shall at one time have a president who will not purport to fight corruption by walking but by using the organs and authority at his or her disposal to combat it.
However, the biggest of my dreams, is that there will come a time when all will realise that nothing material is of value. All that we gain can be lost; even those we obtained at birth. The final accountability is done when we answer to the creator’s call for our actions here. That no matter how much money one accrues, it is of no value to them after passing. These are the things that King Solomon called vanity. It is the things that we do which make us immortal; not what we look like, what we have or who we know.
Here is a bothering question that is the inspiration of the submission herein. Why would a son betray the trust of a father for financial gain? One may say, ‘Dah! Money is money!’; whatever the implication of that is! It is not only among the wealthy that it is common but also families in the low economic ranks. Provided there is property worth fighting for, the blood thins, and families will armor up. It is innate of humans that we seek to gain the world and lose ourselves.
This year, the family of the entrepreneurial titan, Mohan Kiwanuka, got faced with a conundrum orchestrated by a son who is seemingly unappreciative of the labor of the father. Mohan Mohammad Kiwanuka was reportedly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease with on set dementia in 2017. This was followed by several questionable occurrences whose details were broken by, and covered in The Investigator.
It was eventually discovered that the mogul’s son, Jordan Sebuliba Kiwanuka, from the ‘first wife’ Beatrice Luyiga Kavuma, had taken advantage of the father’s diagnosis and attempted to take control over the father’s reigns. He dingily pleaded with courts of law to declare his father a person of unsound mind and he himself be declared the estate proprietor. That he is not his biological son, is a known claim made by Mzee Mohan.
Nevertheless, he swung the narrative in his favor portraying the father to be in a vegetative state and incapable of managing his entities. However, in Mohan Musisi Kiwanuka v Jordan Sebuliba Kiwanuka MISC APP 622/2019 case, Hon. Justice Musa Ssekaana ruled that the father is still in charge of his mental faculties, hence dismissing the case with costs.
Hon. Justice Ssekaana’s ruling was reechoed in Jordan Sebuliba & Anor v Visa Investments Ltd & Anor Civil Suit No. 253/19 where another plaint regarding the same matter, by the principle of res judicata, was disregarded by Justice Godfrey Namundi. The son had obviously gone at lengths to ensure that he discredits the father’s managerial capabilities as caused by the alleged diagnosis.
He went as far as leading the public to believe that Mohan’s official wife, Maria Nabasirye Kiwana Kiwanuka, had a clawed grip on Mohan whose decisions and choices she was controlling. This was of course discredited and debunked by another story published by The Investigator. In this, the author showed that Mohan had been capable of holding his own throughout the one and half hour’s interview.
Coming to the question! In my opinion, of course based off my meager understanding of their family affairs but on the stronger issues they placed before the courts of law, the answer may be derived from comprehension of our human nature. We are a greedy species with the capability of achieving the impossible.
We are not directed by instinct but rather by intuition and reason. We are in full control of our choices, decisions and actions. Thus, even though we are in nature, greedy creatures, we still have the power of self-control. Arguments have been made that this power is what separates us from animals. So, we ought to employ it often.
As humans, we have the potential to be anything at birth. It doesn’t matter that you are African, if you are raised in China, you will speak their language and adopt their culture. Therefore, it is through the process of growth that one achieves the ability to employ their power of self-control. Without proper upbringing, an individual may be unable to form a conscience and founded moral principles.
Yet, I do not believe that upbringing makes or breaks the individual. There is only so much that a parent can do. In my opinion, which might I remind you, is based off meager understanding, it amounts to the experiences of the individual and their capability to use the knowledge, principles and virtues imparted, to act. This is all the parent ought to do. Impart into the child the proper principles, virtues and knowledge. The experience of the child determines how these will be applied.
Without guiding the child through his or her experiences, they might have a misguided perception of the world. However, as I said, I would not pin Jordan’s character on the upbringing. There are still people who can do good even having had no proper guidance. Could Mohan’s situation have been avoided? I think so! In life, if you change one substantial factor, twilight turns into new-moon night darkness in the blink of an eye.
Mohan’s actions could not cause substantial changes, were they to have been different. At the time of vandalizing the premises on Plot 10, Akii Bua Road in Nakasero, Jordan was already the person he is. If anyone’s actions are to be substantive, it should be those of the son. The question of whether things might have been different is not answered by the occurrences of the last few years or even by the diagnosis. It is answered by determining the kind of person that Jordan is.
It wouldn’t have mattered had Mohan Kiwanuka been a middle-income class citizen. There is a claim among the older generation against the younger generation, curbed the “millennials”. This claim portrays the people in this generation as entitled, ungrateful, lazy and vultures. In different respects, this is all true. Though it is unlikely that one individual will have all these qualities. We often have only one and thankfully, lack the others. However, we have our strengths; the best of which is our innovativeness.
They may not admit it, but the old chaps can never be as innovative as the millennial lads and lasses. This kind of innovation pushes ambition. Jordan Sebuliba Kiwanuka is a millennial. One with so much ambition but unwilling to satisfy that effort through modest means. From the looks of it, he is in nature, a lazy ungrateful entitled vulture.
It is difficult to say for sure if things would have been different given the boy’s nature. But the question isn’t that. I do not think that it’s the father’s reported diagnosis which drove Jordan’s attempt to scoop the fruits of the old man’s labor.
Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise for the Kiwanuka family. Mohan has had a chance to see what most parents miss. Often, it is after the parent’s death that the children attempt to gobble the family wealth. For Mr. Kiwanuka, he can now change what might have been chaos in the wake of his death. The fundamental change in the case of the Kiwanuka family wouldn’t be of actions but of the son’s nature.
It is immaterial what Mohan Kiwanuka would have done differently. It is also established herein that Jordan Sebuliba is incapable of doing things any differently from how he did. Thus, it would require Mr. Ssebuliba’s nature to have been different if this were all to have been avoided. It is sad but, perhaps we are born either saintly or evil. No matter the path which one takes, it always leads to their true being!
Have a blessed festive season and a sobriety 2020.
- Joel Kenneth Ndawula is a Student of Law at Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi. He is an inspired writer, the editor and author here; a blogger of sorts.
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