Nothing in life comes free
Posted Sunday, February 24 2013 at 02:00
Johnson Muyanja Senyonga. His dreams of joining politics helped him focus on the goal. With the right role models, Senyonga has been able to progress in the journey of helping his electorate in Mukono Municipality.
‘‘There is no chance, no destiny, and no fate that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.’’ The words of American author and poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox ring true in the life of Johnson Muyanja Senyonga. His friends may have nicknamed him Major while growing up, but his heart lay in becoming a politician rather than a soldier.
The fourth of 14 children born to Edward Ziwa and Hajat Lazia Namagembe Senyonga first became a leader in primary school when he was elected the Class monitor in Primary Five having been influenced by the clergy in his parish. He later became a prefect in Primary Six and took up various leadership positions in his secondary school and church.
The early steps
“While I was at my parish, Lwaggulwe Parish, Kalisizo Zone in Masaka, I admired the fathers and brothers in the seminary. They used to be very smart, compassionate, hardworking, always respected and generally inspirational. Because of this, I also wanted to be like them though I never wanted to join the seminary,” says the Mayor of Mukono Municipality.
After his secondary school in 1984, he never went back to school till much later but decided to join active politics. “In 1986, I was elected a youth leader for Kauga Ward up to 1992. At that time, I was also head of laity in my church. Later, I was also elected the Youth Counselor for Mukono Town Council. I held that position up to 1998,” he says.
He was elected Mayor of Mukono Town Council that year, a position he held up to June 2010. When Mukono was later granted a municipality status, he contested for the Mayor position and won.
As a politician, his philosophy to life has always been being a person who never believes there are things for free in life. “If I want something, I have to work for it. I never want to be met with challenges as something new. I am always prepared for anything and I think all leaders need to have this in mind because as a leader, I am a change agent, problem solver and peace maker. So I am always prepared,” Senyonga, who is also the president of the Mayors in Uganda notes.
With his best quotes being. “Hard work pays” and “No pain, no gain”, he says he is ready to face what life brings
The pillars he looks up to
His role model is the former Mayor of Entebbe Municipality, Steven Kabuye whom he says enabled him to stay in politics. He describes Kabuye as calm, respected, ready to deliver to his people, passionate about all he did and that he never under-looked people, something he says he learnt from him.
“Through emulating him, I have been able to relate with my people too. I make sure that I never undermine anyone and have no permanent enemy, I’m ready to serve, help the needy by not taking advantage of them so that I can remain being trusted and respected. That is my motivation, desire and passion for the people who entrust me with responsibility in any area,” he explains.
Vision for the cities
On what he thinks about what cities’ need to do to progress, he says all leaders need to avoid politicking. He believes that all the urban centres have plans that have to be followed for their development but in most cases, politicians seek cheap popularity which slows down the implementation of these plans. This has to change if Ugandan cities are to develop.
Seyonga is proud of his linking Mukono to other towns and cities both locally and internationally to the extent that it is one of the model towns, introducing vocational studies to the students, establishing parks and markets and improving on the infrastructure within the municipality.
His major regret in life however is that people are never honest and trustworthy. If he had a chance to change anything, he would change people’s hearts to being honest and trustworthy. In politics, he has also come to learn that the ground is never leveled for all.
“There is a lot of malice and misconception. Something that is very minor is usually misinterpreted and in the end, it turns out to be a big problem for the community. Yet the people we lead sometimes do not understand this,” he says. He believes that politicians should also have side income generating activities that can give them money to move on other than waiting for the salary which he says is the root cause of corruption among leaders.
He says most of them depend on the salary which is never enough and yet they have very many demands. Outside politics, Senyonga owns a school with classes from nursery to Senior Six ‘among other businesses.
A family man
He is married, with children whose number he would rather not disclose. He says the family is his source of happiness. He emphasizes that being close to children is the best way of bringing them up. When he is not in office or field, at his home, school or at functions and parties, he is usually in the music studio. He has a band called Johnson Muyanja’s Music Productions and has been able to record an album. He is good at playing the piano. He says he is a diehard supporter of KCC and Manchester United football clubs. He also enjoys boxing and theatre.
On where he sees Mukono in the next five years or future, he says the district will be the next biggest destination after Kampala. He hopes to become a member of parliament for Mukono South Constituency in 2016.