’Basoga, Stop Embarrassing Us!’

Ali Kirume, aka Gear Box, features on NTV’s Zungulu once in a while.

He tells Quick Talk he only comments on important national matters, when she asks for an interview. The last time Quick Talk saw him comment on anything was when Desire Luzinda’s nude photographs leaked.

Following some convincing, Gear Box allows Quick Talk to engage him. They meet at Yuvraj International Ltd, sellers of TVS motorcycles, where Gear Box is the chief collection officer.

[Gear Box first lists his credentials].

[Puffed up. Like Quick Talk ought to think a lot of him:] I am the chief here. I plan for this company.

Eh, such a big job. But I thought you were part of the leadership of Uganda’s boda boda association.

[With a fist in the air, widely opened eyes and a puffed-up body:] I am. I am the head of security. You know security is my talent. If you put me here and said, “security now,” I would look around for the threats and destroy them.

How did you end up being in charge of security for boda boda riders?

My first job was as a DJ. Then I became a securiko [askari]. [Proudly:] I have ever guarded those cars that transport money.

Wooow. How did you end up in the boda boda association?

I got tired of the Securiko job. I saw that boda-boda riders were suffering I decided to help them.

You have a number of jobs.

Yes I do. People love me. I don’t like Jennifer Musisi, though [bannange]. She destroyed people’s kiosks.

Yet you are a staunch NRM lover. Where did this love come from, by the way?

My mother, Mary Mayanja, told me when she was running from Jalamba on Masaka road to Sekanyonyi, she dropped me in a river. This was during those bush- war days. I was almost washed away but a soldier saved me.

That’s why I love this government. [Quick Talk has met many people. Now she meets one from Jalamba, who was almost washed away by a river!] This government has ensured peace now Mesach [Ssemakula] can sing and get money. It is those who can’t work who don’t love NRM.

Isn’t your love for NRM strategic though? Don’t you want money?

No. If I wanted money, I wouldn’t work. For me, I love NRM because the country is peaceful. People sleep with their goats and chickens and they don’t get stolen.

I saw you on NTV rejoicing over Busoga finally getting a Kyabazinga… .

My friend, I was angry with all the back-and-forth involved in the choosing of a Kyabazinga. I told my wife tetudda Busoga [we will not return to Busoga]. Everyone wanted to be the Kyabazinga but this Wilberforce Nadiope Gabula is our king. Those who don’t know him should be beaten.

Beaten?!

[Passionately, with raised fists:] Yes. And Basoga should stop embarrassing us. People say tetutegeera (we lacking in wisdom) and some of us who got married to women from other tribes get laughed at. I don’t want our wives laughing at us because (some) Basoga suffer from jiggers. If people cannot bathe, they should be punished. Let leaders tell them to bathe. Basoga are my kinsmen but I don’t want them embarrassing us.

Speaking of wives from areas other than one’s own, how many do you have?

Yiiyii naawe! [come on!] One.

And how many children do you have?

I am a man. I cannot be limited. I am still siring more.

That doesn’t answer the question… .

One.

How old are you?

Thirty.

Only?

What do you mean, only? Did you think I was 60? [Quick Talk thought maybe 40, or 45.]

You look older than 30. Did you go to school?

Go to school at all? [Firmly:] I studied up to S3. But let me tell you, education is useless.

It is?

I am the chief here. People with diplomas report to me. People with degrees also report to me. I am going to India to study business next year [… thought education was useless… ?] I did my kindergarten at Namutebi Nkaata’s in Kawempe and my primary in Kagoma PS in Buwenge, Jinja district.

Do you watch movies?

Not too many. I had to watch [Idi] Amin’s, though.

Of those you have watched, which is your favourite?

I used to enjoy Rambo [I knew it! Quick Talk thinks], because he was so powerful. [Rambo movies are the only ones he enjoyed.]

Who is your favourite news anchor?

Faridah Nakazibwe [NTV Luganda bulletin].

What is your favourite food?

People don’t know, but I love mbooli n’envuluga [potatoes and groundnut sauce]. By the way, if I find a man who is over 35 and does not have children, I suspect he acts like that bad maid who beat up that child.

[Don’t ask Quick Talk how the conversation got to this. It just did:] Is Gashumba married? [Quick Talk says no.] He should not be commenting on the matter of the housemaid then. I hear the housemaid was mistreated. She should have left. The only people who should be commenting on this matter are those with wives, children and have ever had housemaids.

[Sigh! Moving on:] Favourite colour?

Yellow, of course. When those boys painted those pigs yellow, I wanted to look for them [Gear Box is Muslim. And dressing pigs in his favourite colour must have hurt].

What is your favourite type of underwear?

Boxers.

So, are all your undergarments yellow?

I have all colours but I look for yellow when I am buying. If I don’t find yellow, I buy other colours. [Bright yellow underwear on men? Now, that would be blinding.]

The interview does not end without Gear Box commenting about Desire Luzinda: “You know for me I love Uganda. That is why I supported Desire when her photos were leaked. She is not a bad woman. Ugandans are like her. They aren’t so righteous. [Clapping his hands the way people do when they are shocked:] If you lifted the roofs off their houses, you would see things that would scare you.”

Source : The Observer

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