Kapchorwa-“I have a grand dream for Sebei. I am a man who tries to uplift farmers. I am just 55 and I still have a lot to do for the world”.
That is what Wilson Chemusto, aka, Farmer, told this newspaper late last year during a courtesy visit to his home. Dressed in a white T-shirt, grey trousers and gumboots, he waxed lyrical about farming, he talked with authority, he breathed with vehement ambition, he dreamed a dream of prosperity; a better world. The farmer painted a picture of a man on a high.
With a clever sense of humour, he joked with his children the same way he would with his peers and visitors to his home. But the cruel hand of death robbed Sebei of such a man last weekend, much to the chagrin of the dwellers of the mountainous region. He was 56.
In Kapchorwa where he had helped found Kapchorwa Commercial Farmers Association and had established a Shs3b warehouse courtesy of World Food Programme, the man born on December 12, 1958 in Siron,
Kaptanya Sub-county in Kapchorwa District to Amisi Chesongok and Zisiriya Kokopandrew had become a household name. He had become the powerhouse of the hoe and the garden; a model of sorts and a conqueror of the terrains.
It was in 1965 when Chemusto’s academic journey kicked off at Kapkwomurya Primary School. Because of cattle keeping and rampant rustling, Chemusto spent 10 years in Primary. It is while in primary that Chemusto developed a love for his pet activity – farming.
“While in primary school, I got involved in youth farming and that is why I got a dream to follow my passion,” he told this newspaper during his hey days. And follow the passion he did; 100 per cent of his bread would come from this dream he nurtured just at the turn of 10 years on earth.
So in 1976, he joined Mbale Secondary School for his O-Level. However, his academic journey was soon put on a halt in 1979 due to a gloomy political environment occasioned by the Liberation War that kicked out Idi Amin.
Chemusto, despite dropping out in Senior Four, rallied enough courage to go on and teach at Kapkwomurya Primary School without a teaching certificate. Great ambition he had in his nerves in deed.
As English writer Jane Austen states in her novel of manners, Pride and Prejudice, everyman in possession of a fortune is in search of a woman.
And yes, in 1984, a 28-year-old Chemusto walked up the hills to the family of William Chesambu in Chebukat Village, to ask for the hand of his sweet heart, Sophie, in marriage.
He was shown the green light and he rolled down hills to Siron with the lady; and wedded her in 1986 – two years after the birth of their first born.
The two would get four children; Andrew Timothy Mangusho, Aggrey Lawrence Chebet, Emily Chemutai and Claire Chelimo. And after establishing his family and setting the stage for education of his children, Chemusto soon found himself before black and white again at Makerere University in the early 2000s.
He did a string of certificates from the Ivory Tower, including a Diploma in Public Administration and in 2006, enrolled for a Bachelors course in Business Administration at Busoga University.
Although he kept on oscillating between the classroom and the garden, the farmer maintained a keen eye on the prize he missed when Tanzanians with a group of Ugandan exiles kicked out Amin in 1979. That prize was a degree. He would graduate in 2010.