I have no perfect singular word to describe the now demised Dr Paulo Kawanga Ssemogerere. He has been a giant without showing it off. He was a genius who never prided in throwing it in people’s faces. He has lived and acted true to his name, Kawanga, which stands for brain power.
Permit me to summarize the deceased elder to have been a gentle giant who wisely chose to accept to be wrong other than wronging anyone. He understood fully the saying that an-eye-for-an-eye leaves all parties involved blind, knowing that none of us is beyond reproach. No one has given a moving eulogy in respect of Dr Ssemogerere as counsel Frederick Mpanga has.
A man of immeasurable wit as his own dad was, Mpanga stated this: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God”. Lots of thanks to you Counsel Mpanga, you’ve said it all. Ssemogerere has been the definition of peace and tranquility itself. I have no slightest doubt that he is seated on the right side of his Heavenly Father since he has spent his life working and seeking for peace and tranquility for fellow humanity.
Very few people are aware that Ssemogerere was once a very good boxer. But he cut this short since he was very scared of injuring his opponents. A story is told about how Ssemogerere would knock down his opponents, only to bend over upon them in order to share in their pain. That neatly summarizes how the man lying there in state, dreaded violence and the spilling of blood.
This is why even after being cheated by Dr Apollo Milton Obote in the 1980 general elections, Ssemogerere chose to forgive and forget other than picking up the guns to spill the blood of Ugandans in quest for power. To Ssemogerere, what had happened had been a political problem which he wisely thought being a peacemaker, would be better solved by applying the political measures.
Others went to the bush, fought and got power. Ssemogerere remained back and tried to use politics to solve the political questions of the day. Dr Milton Obote and his hangers-on and cheerleaders provocatively kept mocking Ssemogerere and asking him to show him his own military generals. But does it ring a bell, anyway!
By that time, Obote was counting on his blue-eyed boy in Gen. Oyite Ojok and the two Okellos to destroy any opponent. He was characterizing Muchebeni and his rebels as those cassava thieves, bandits and such. Consider. Obote’s lion, Oyite Ojok desperately perished in battle. He had been flying over Luweero while proudly promising to rain hell over the place. Power spoils indeed!
The Okellos would later on turn their guns on Obote and indeed upstaged the master. Learn. Obote had not learned not to count on military generals, considering that his other trusted Gen Amin Dada had previously overthrown him. See, the stupidity of counting on military generals! For why else was Obote deluding himself by chest-thumping and talking big as he was now mocking Ssemogerere by asking him to point him to his so-called military generals!
Some groups of people picked the guns to fight vote-rigging by Obote and company. Yet today, vote rigging has not only degenerated, but has also turned fully circle into vote thuggery and counting. The same has gone to the dogs simply because we are still using force and violence to solve problems which are purely political. When are we going to learn, honestly?
It is ironically bizarre that the same people who rode on the ticket of Ssemogerere’s stolen victory to launch a war and also used it to come to power, they themselves ended up stealing Ssemogerere’s victory in 1996! Ssemogerere didn’t go to the bush to fight the latter-day election thieves. He remained back and has been trying in vain till his death, to use the political means to end election thuggery which is too, too bad as it is also very, very alarming currently. Too bad to learn that the same is being masterminded by the very people who launched a destructive war to purportedly end the vice.
It is so, so painful that Ssemogerere has gone home without witnessing the better Uganda he has spent much of his time and resources yearning for. As a token of appreciation to the true Statesman, Ssemogerere has been, the political actors must strive to work for peace and transparency in everything they do for the betterment of the country.
The cutting of political deals out of expediency and at the expense of transparency and decency must stop and stop permanently. I think you understand and know what am referring to. As I wind up, it is fit and proper to wish the fallen gentle giant a blissfully eternal rest. I salute you Mr. Peace Maker. I am proud of you and will be proud of you forever. Till we link up in endless joy. Say hello to my own Papa who was a proud Democrat just as you yourself has been.
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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