In a classic melodrama, Current RDC Jinja, Mr Eric Sakwa was almost frog matched to the infamous Nalufunye prison in Jinja. I was mesmerized and frenzied seeing Sakwa change character and mannerism. His diction and demeanor drastically changed just within a year after choosing to work to appease mafias. Once a loved friend he became a fiend and people’s foe and tormentor.
I remember in the early 2000, we were both in opposition with Sakwa. It was ekimeza time, we were the movers and shakers of Kampala.
Sakwa UPC, Wander, Nuwagaba NRM, FDC, again NRM, Aroma, UPC, Myself, Mukasa Mbidde DP etc. We made NRM regime go gaga and tipsy turvy! ” my mouth is pregnant with data on the murderous regime.” Sakwa would begin his watermouth fulthroated speech. Every Ugandans would be glued to their radio , radio one.
The ekimeza was picked up by all radio stations, and live radio shows became the thing. We started hearing Luganda version in CBS. The imitators speaking local languages went overboard.
In radio one, we were given 4 minutes each to speak with questions, the moderators were quick to restrain outrageous statements and make disclaimers. Unfortunately, the local uncontrolled shows helped the repressive regime to shutdown ekimeza. From club Obligato to Bat valley, to the graves. The regime must have been very happy.
It was December 2013, we were planning to go for festive seasons. I met Hon Frank Tumwebaze, Minister for Presidency then.
We had a cup of tea, Frank was a friend from UNSA and ekimeza too. He would come once in a while.
He told me, “brother, comrade, I trust your intellect, I spoke with George Odongo, and Sakwa”. You guys have the sophistication to lead districts as commissioners.
The office of the RDC is hated and Ugandans don’t value but your team can change the narrative “he convinced me. I was meant to go to Gulu as RDC, George to Lira and Sakwa Mbale.
Unfortunately, Frank had his enemies within the Ministry, who had RDC officers as their money minting parlour. RDCs are traditionally layers of corruption, they each have at least 5 companies, each company takes a District contract.
The district chairpersons, councilors and RDCs all have companies. These companies do shoddy works and RDCs being chief government programs monitors, report air.
The RDCs report shoddy works as EXELLENT, because it’s their companies that does the shoddy works. They grab all public and personal land and own half, share with District leaders and bosses in the office of the President.
Hon. Frank Tumwebaze wanted the narrative changed. February 2014, news came in, “Front page, Mwaka Lutukumoi DP, Sakwa UPC, posted as Deputy RDCs, Lira and Jinja respectively.
The mafias frustrated Hon Frank Tumwebaze. I was lucky, the mafias didn’t know, George was also an ally of Frank. The pay of Deputy RDCs was less than a million shillings, no car then for me, and even Sakwa in Jinja .
Fortunately, I agreed with George to work together. The 960k salary I got was less than what I pay my workers in the NGO in Gulu. I was paying my accountant 2.5 million shillings and watchman 400.000 shillings far below what I got. I was shy of only 500.000 ahead of him. But Frank called me and encouraged me saying better things are ahead.
Unfortunately for Sakwa, as Deputy RDC Jinja, he deputized the real devil, a mafia sent to fulfill evil corrupt plans. He did all the evils associated with the evils of RDCs office, besides corruption, they are the most coercive forces to suppress opposition.
While , Frank moved George to headquarters in Kampala and I became the defacto acting RDC. Because I made my office pro people, eased work of NGOs baptised enemies of the state and freed opposition while arresting contractors doing shoddy works, I didn’t know, I was stepping on toes, I recovered billions on shoddy works and projects.
Lango people loved me, twice Frank praised me and George in kyankwanzi as best RDCs. Sakwa continued doing good things, but recieved wars and bad reports, like me in Lira, people of Jinja loved him.
FRANK TUMWEBAZE TAKEN AWAY.
Hell broke lose, the mafias successful helped transferred Frank to ICT. A new minister, Hon Mbayo came in, wanted to get rid of Frank’s people.
In 2016, election time, as RDC, I intervened and prevailed over DPC not to interfere with opposition rallies and opposition were free in Lira. I prevailed and protected the votes of opposition MPs. MPs like Hon Jonathan Odur and Ongom, the woman MP. For the first time, NRM strong man, Hon Sam Engola who was untouchable, was beaten, no one would change results. Todate, MP odur is a friend.
In March, 2016, I was bribed by 2 lockups in Lira market. A 28 bn shillings market, I monitored the construction like in 14 other municipalities were hijacked after and during construction.
RDCs, Mayors ensured they reduced the original sizes, and after, rich people and leaders shared. Sold out to people who exorbitantly rent to the poor.
Each two lockups were worth 20 million shillings each. I rejected! I mobilised the media and broke doors of 120 lockups and handed to poor.
I recieved calls from the DISO, The leaders of local government and statehouse. Warning me. I was in radio and TV a day before naming and shaming the corrupt in office of the President.
No sooner had I exposed all than I survived a bomb blast in the market. Of all places Lira market where I was meant to address wananchi. I left.
FRANK’S MEN DEMOTIONS OF 2016 SAKWA’ INVOLVED
In October 2016, news came in, ” RDCs TRANSFERED”. The target was Frank’s people. Mwaka Lutukumoi was the first, after acting for 3 years as RDC Lira was demoted to Kitgum as deputy RDC, to an illiterate without an office.
Hon George demoted from headquarters to RDC Otuke. George resigned and moved to campaign for MP East Africa, and made it. Our CORDINATER, Mr Morrison Rwakakamba who sat with Frank left for USA.
From Jinja Sakwa was tranfered as Deputy, I think Buteleja. While Lango people loved me, conducted 15 fairwell parties in a week. 200 cars escorted me to Kitgum. Among people who escorted me was Euchu, head of Children for peace. Many NGO and churches escorted me. We suprised Kitgum. I entered like a King and that was happening to my mukwasi.
While people of Jinja swept the roads for Sakwa and had to petition President to take him back as RDC Jinja. While I left for new York, in 2018, I was reappointed RDC Lira with the request of the population. It’s never possible for a coercive RDC to be recalled by the people in a District after serving for 5 years. Big votes of confidence.
Same for Sakwa, while I quit , denied reappointment and secured a career in the USA, Sakwa remained under the mafias entangled and unliberated.
People of Jinja petitioned the President, like me, from Deputy, Butaleja, Sakwa was promoted to full RDC Jinja. He lost one thing humility and love of the people. He chose to appease the mafias. In the end, Sakwa changed.
“No opposition is welcome in Jinja”, and followed to the dot oppressive directives on COVID-19. I wrote to Sakwa. I knew it, the ultimate goal was to destroy Sakwa, the UPC man.
But Sakwa didn’t see. My Muko, you don’t deserve to rot in jail, but OF COURSE, you are not from Kiruhura! Compare Sakwa with the Hoima RDC who beat in public People Power (PP) activists during Nyakato election robbery. Many lost their lives, but it’s their government.
The views expressed in this article [Opinion] are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Africa Tembelea’s editorial stance.
Lutukumoi, is the former Resident District Commissioner for Lira