He wrote his script, acted and directed the movie, that premiered on Hero’s Day.
The President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, while delivering a Hero’s national address interrupted his speech to announce the passing on of a hero in real time!
He ordered the entire nation to observe a moment of silence in the General’s honour! That was Kasirye Ggwanga!
The nation did and soon there was outpouring of grief at the confirmation of Ggwanga’s death finally! Finally, because for a number of times he had been announced dead by the reckless social media.
The idiots had kept on announcing his death without caring about family and friends’ feelings. I hasten to add enemies too because imagine the enemy throwing a party to celebrate their enemy’s demise only to find out that the General was actually still alive! Imagine the horror that would engulf the jubilant hater on realising that the General if still alive and what he would do to the hater.
Growing up Wasswa Samwiri Gitta Kasirye Ggwanga was extremely stubborn, it is surprising he didn’t end up in Kampiringisa, where many stubborn kids were taken for straightening up, so we were told. A dreaded place, whose mere mention would send chills down children’s spines.
Wasswa as most of us grew up calling him was a handful to teachers. Bishop Ssenabulya, his primary school teacher would testify to that.
Our high school days were full of action. Attending teenagers’ dances almost every Saturday and Sunday at New Life, Mengo later renamed Economic Night Club after the exodus of Indians and Pakistanis from 1972.
Wasswa loved dancing and was a regular at Afrigo band’s performances. Ggwanga to many who knew him not was an enigma.
Wasswa was shy, yes very shy for those who knew him well. The shades he donned masked his shyness. Without shades he would feel naked and disarmed.
He was a human magnet, wherever he was, crowds would gather to hear what he had to say, and he never disappointed.
He loved people and would do anything to help where and whenever he could.
He loved children, all children biological or non. He loved dogs and trusted them because of their unswerving loyalty.
Among his most treasured items were the army Swiss knife and a chronometer watch. Did I mention that he also loved and collected my art?
Well he did and would occasionally drop in at my studio/gallery for a visual feast and chat. In his collection is ‘The Ibis That Started it All’ and ‘Is it Defence or Offence?’
He was always in search of knowledge through reading and watching TV. He would go ahead and try to implement what he would have read and observed! Sometimes to disastrous consequences.
As a teenager, he would stir up trouble and when the fight broke out he would disappear in thin air. However, that changed drastically after the basic military training in 1972 in Bombo Military wing.
He became extremely fearless and daring.
The 1979 war, followed by two years of detention in Tanzania and the years he spent in the bush fighting the murderous Obote regime shaped his view of life in terms of what was, is and should be.
Then came the opportunity to try his luck on the ballot box. He was unanimously elected political head of Mubende District but preferred to be referred to as governor instead of ‘chairman’ according to the Ugandan constitution.
Why the governor title? Of course the American influence, where he had spent a whole year attending a course at Fort Leavenworth Staff and Command College, furthermore, growing up we had watched a lot of American movies especially Cowboy ones aka Western movies. Did I mention his belief in the federal system of government too?
He loathed hypocrites, despised the corrupt, abhorred bullies and avoided idleness. He had an enormous heart with several compartments, in which anyone would fit.
He was also extremely impatient with non-performers, but generous with whoever presented a need to him.
Ggwanga tough looking as he appeared was an extremely emotional man and would breakdown at the news of the passing on of a beloved one! And such occasions weren’t few!
Man Nowa (Nuwa) tuggwaawo! He would
The most amazing thing is that he was loved by many from near and far, including those who had never met him and only knew him through his pronouncements in the media.
Then there were those who resented him because of his lack of sugar-coated utterances. He said what he meant and meant what he said.
If indeed people love him, going by the amount of outpouring emotions following his passing on, then let every mourner plant a tree in his honour and memory.
And may the powers that be declare total war on all those engaged in environmental degradation, land grabbing and corruption in any form.
I hereby aver, Corruption is getting what you don’t deserve whichever way.
Oh how I wish a forest would be planted in his honour and a compilation of his sayings be published into a book.
I thank the Almighty God for according me the privilege and honour of meeting, getting to know and sharing a lot with Maj Gen Wasswa Kasirye Ggwanga. He was an accomplished military politician.
The General lived up to his old school, Namukozi motto: Okutya nsonyi; Obuzira kitiibwa. Loosely translated: cowardice is shameful; Bravery is honourable.
Major General, Brigadier, Colonel Kasirye Ggwanga as many civilians fondly called you, believing Colonel was your first name and Brigadier a nickname.
This time didn’t cut the crap! Jamadari you didn’t live in vain. Rip.
Nnyanzi, is a God-taught visual arts practitioner/Consultant, and a long time friend to the Late Gen Kasirye Ggwanga