Saturday December 17 2011

Babyetsiza lives against all odds to fulfill dreams



By Dennis D. Muhumuza

Destined to Triumph chronicles Julius Babyetsiza’s roller-coaster life; an orphan that rises from abject poverty, survives a mysterious swelling on the leg that paralyses him, misses admission to Makerere University by a whisker but wins a scholarship to study Economics and Statistics at the Odessa State Economic University in Ukraine, and a Master of Science in Economics with Statistics at the same university.

There, he earns a reputation for brilliance and on graduation day delivers a spectacular speech on behalf of foreign graduates. He also takes to wrestling with zeal and knows he is on the cusp of professionalism when he is lined to feature in the Ukrainian National Wrestling Championship. But a knee injury wrecks that dream. The inconsolable student then shies away from his true love - a Slavic woman of dazzling beauty.

When he returns home, he is beset by unemployment, and forays into private business, marries a Rwandan beauty, who soon shows her true colours; melting “a golden ring into a tooth,” robbing him dry and vanishing.
Babyetsiza then lands a job as a Researcher and Computer Systems Administrator at the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, but is soon advised to denounce his critical newspaper commentaries, but he cannot allow to be gagged, so he later loses his job.

Inspired by an old saying that if a person fell and remained on the ground crying, it exalts the devil, Babyetsiza heeds his cousin’s advice to put down the “highly dramatic twists and turns” that have characterised his life, and this hilarious 214-page autobiography is birthed.

Published by CreateSpace, Amazon’s print-on-demand publishing house, Destined to Triumph, starts with the author’s early life, the untimely death of his father and the uncertainties that his four children have to endure seeing they are too young to fend for themselves, let alone see themselves through school.

But it is said God never abandons orphans. In spite of the labyrinths that he has to navigate, Babyetsiza somehow makes it, thanks to his determination and perseverance. The author also explores the role of love and togetherness in progress.

“Much as my life has been a mixture of intertwined dilemmas and opportunities, it is evident that boundless love has followed me all the days of my life,” he writes, thanking God for the countless people that have cared for him since the death of his father.

Through the author’s life and times, we also learn something about the history of Ankole and service delivery then. The author recalls the story of how Mbaguta, the prime minister of Ankole in the old days, exerted his power; getting men to line up with hoes from Mbarara to Kazinga Channel to construct a road that long in one day! But today, jiggers are wrecking the lives of villagers while LC officials look on, and money for road construction and repair is diverted for self aggrandisement.

The book is written passionately; with the author going beyond his personal life to expose the ills crippling the land. It is a commendable attempt at opening the eyes of the people of Uganda to quit goofing and rise above the mediocrity and build knowledge and technology-driven economies to overcome graduate unemployment, poverty and backwardness.

The author is disillusioned with the elite, especially university leaders and lecturers, who are doing nothing about “lack of proper national planning and poor policies, environmental abuse, poor governance, poverty and stagnation” and look on indifferently while embezzlement of public funds meant to uplift the poor goes on, and corruption hits a crescendo. He feels these erudite people should set precedence as “guardians of political and socio-economic accountability.”