On Monday, Monday William Kintu, a former Resident District Commissioner (RDC), said their years of faithful service have not been appreciated, which he said is seen in the manner in which the appointing authority shuffled them. Despite their sacrifices, he said, they live a miserable life now.
“When I was RDC, we had no houses for the RDC and deputy RDC. I was renting a house of Shs400,000 and the salary was Shs900,000 after taxes; the way we are given an exit is terrible,” said Kintu during a meeting with the speaker of Parliament where retired RDCs asked Parliament to retrospectively pass laws to accord them pension.
Kintu left journalism for public service in 2007. Lesson; “There’s a time to work, a time to resign, a time to be sacked or in this case; a time to retire,” he says.
He believes retirement should be a reality people live with .
Background and work
Kintu hails from Igombe Sub-county in Bugweri District. His father was a prominent businessman and farmer in Iganga,.
“Our father ensured that we all get an education, he implored us to work hard and demonstrated that by renting out our land to farmers,” says Kintu.
He recalls a time he had no school fees and the father handed him a chit asking that the head teacher allows Kintu to study and they would pay fees after selling off a truck of coffee.
Later, Kintu worked as a waiter at Charley Deluxe bar (modern day Capital Pub) in Kansanga where he met met high profile people including Oyite Ojok (army chief of staff) and the then Capital FM’s programmes manager Huub Gales.
One day, Gales told him that they were going to start a radio station. He told Kintu, “I see you can make a good news reporter going by the way you communicate.” This, he brushed off but kept thinking about it.
Not long after he bumped into William Pike who was the radio station owner, at a fuel station. Pike mentioned to Kintu that Gales had spoken well of him.
“Fast forward my first news story was about a vehicle which rammed into a shelter at around 3am in Kabalagala. I used to leave my place of work at dawn, so I was at the scene in time. I wrote the story on a small paper and took it to Capital [FM]. Thereafter Huub said, “You’re now going to be giving us news,” recalls Kintu.
He had made a network of friends and after his 13-year reporter stint, Kintu moved on.
“On October 30, 2007, I received a phone call at 10pm and could not believe my ears. Someone on the other end of the line said I had been appointed deputy resident district commissioner for Pallisa,” said the 58-year-old.
He started imagining the task ahead of him because such offices are daunting for newbies.
Kintu also served as Nakawa Resident District Commissioner (RDC) in 2011.
His major challenge throughout the tenure was that people always thought being a president’s representative, one always has money.
“People come to your office asking for money for several things including burials and wedding contributions. And when you go to functions the entertainers dance in front of you so that you leave ‘something’ for them,” he says.
Unfortunately, Kintu lost his wife Justine Nagawa Kintu, while he was in Pallisa. This hit him hard and he was counselled. Despite the misfortune, they had started investing in some projects.
He says one will never know when they will leave their office, especially in the RDC world where they are reshuffled on an almost continuous basis. He thought about retirement and acted accordingly.
“Together with my wife, we constructed some rentals here (Muyenga) in the neighbourhood. These supplemented my income and were for a long term— just in case I was out of employment. We also bought a piece of land near my ancestral home in Bugweri. I am also constructing more rental units there,” he adds.
Life now is different. The general secretary of Tungane, a Sacco for former RDCs also owns Kintu Events, an events company through which he hires out a public address system, and he acts as an emcee at introductions, weddings or get-together events.
Kintu also co-owns a pub which he has to go and check on, and also occasionally goes for radio and TV talk shows.
After serving in Pallisa what Kintu learnt from life is to be ready to work in any place. “When I received the appointment letter of being resident district commissioner, it stated that the president can assign you at anytime, anywhere in the country,” he says.
And besides that, he adds that he also learnt to understand who one’s true friends are because the RDC work was very sensitive.
Kintu planned for his retirement by first acknowledging who he was .
“You can even build a house in eight years. The only problem is that some people don’t want to go step by step. we entered our house when we had no glass in the windows” he asserts.
Kintu concludes: “When you clock 50, you are in extra time. Self-employment is better than earning a salary because the person you are working for, benefits more from you. Come rain or shine, you are supposed to be at work to satisfy them. For instance, when someone dies in police, the new prospective occupants go to the officer in-charge of the barracks and say; we want to enter. So by the time you’re preparing to take the body, a new occupant is coming in,” he says.
On a typical day, Kintu is up by 5am to catch up on current affairs on radio and TV. He takes breakfast at about 8am or 9am. Thereafter, he checks his diary for the pending tasks from the previous day.
“When I return home, my children and grandchildren tell me stories although they jealously control the TV remote. And after dinner I sleep at around midnight,” he says.
In his free time, Kintu loves Afrigo Band and teases; “I’m not a party after party breed like you people”, I enjoy visiting my neighbours,” he says.
Monday William Kintu, a former RDC, exercises and urges people to keep healthy. “You have to mind your health and lifestyle. Sometimes I walk from here (Muyenga) to town or I jog and meet people who offer me a lift but I decline because I will not have hit my day’s targets,” he explains.