Letter from Kireka: Take heart Mukula, things happen
Posted Sunday, January 27 2013 at 00:00
Prison gives the politician a chance to write himself a bestselling autobiography.
Hey, ndugu Mike Mukula. It is now close to a fortnight since you were sent to that University of Understanding. I am told that place, despite overlooking the lake (one of those qualities wealthy people look for when prospecting for land), has no amenities like TV and newspapers. I therefore guess you have not followed a lot of the discussions that have happened since the courts found you guilty of stealing a paltry Shs210m and sent you to the coolers.
This letter, hence, seeks to bring you to speed on the goings-on this side. Of course, one of the key debates has been on the question of whether “taking” Shs210m can be termed as theft or fraud. In bars and bedrooms, people have been musing about how in this era of “billions theft” anyone can be jailed for stealing Shs210m. After being bamboozled with scandals involving billions in relation to ghost LC bicycles, Prime Minister’s cash, pensions ghosts, etc, a section of Ugandans think it was an anti-climax for the courts to instead convict someone for stealing a paltry Shs210m.
Of course, some fellows insist that Shs210m could have facilitated immunisation of scores of children but what they do not recognise is that it is common, practice for some people to gamble that money in a casino in a single night or in some homes, it is stuffed into pillows to make comfortable sleeping. Your case was akin to using a sledgehammer to kill a fly.
Honourable (by the way, do you still keep the title?) I will be frank with you. There also has been a group of commentators who think no tear should be shed for you. I have heard in some circles this group cite a famous remark you made when politicians from Teso, including your political nemesis Charles Ekemu, were years back detained for reasons thought to be political. This group vividly recalls when you said, “Those who ride the tiger’s back should know they will end up in its stomach.”
When they heard you lament about political witch-hunt as you boarded that truck to the beach, they wondered if you had not ended up in the tiger’s belly yourself. In fact, in the bar the other day, Iculi, one of the guys we relax with, while reminiscing on this comment of yours, made mention of a proverb that warns a woman against keeping the stick her husband has just used to cane her co-wife.
It is this same group, honourable, that kept raising the matter of comments you made years ago about being stronger than Moru-apesur (the Soroti rock). This group argues that most people who liken themselves to very granite material tend to end up in ways that expose their fallibility. In one conversation I overheard, they were citing a chap from Kakiri, who despite labelling himself Mahogany, was uprooted like carrots.
But to more serious stuff. I know many are advising you to seek bail and get back your freedom. I would advise against this. I think fate has handed you a golden opportunity. Look, I have listened to you severally talk about revolutionaries like Nelson Mandela and Oginga Odinga. The reason these people are iconic was that they were able to stay in incarceration for years and came out stronger. I think you have a real chance to prove that beyond words, you can ride the wave. Of course, there is the danger of being relegated into oblivion after four years but it depends on how you manage your return.
You remember how “Seya” Ssebagala got people thronging Entebbe to receive him from the US? I guess you can cook up something.
When you do this, you can then qualify to list yourself in the same sentence with the Mandelas and Co. It will be more believable than Bebe Cool or Andrew Mwenda’s similar claims after spending a weekend in the cooler.
You can also use this time to write your memoirs. If the prisons authority can allow you access pen and paper, you can compile your life story. I already have a working title: “From Politics to Prison: One captain’s story”. You can share all the things you have seen in the corridors of power, all the claims of injustice you now loudly allude to, the backstabbing, the intrigue, everything. It will make great reading, I guess.