“Good morning sir, sir I was listening to the radio. These Baganda are saying that if Lukwago is impeached they are going to start a war against the government. I want a war to come to Buganda. These Baganda should test it. They think they can fight. They have never seen a war “ the guard continued.
Yesterday, the guard at my house engaged me in a 20 minutes conversation or should I say story since he did all the talking. I made a few comments here and there but mostly listening to him as he calmly poured out his anger and frustration.
This guard is the most respectful guard I have ever seen. Actually one of the most respectful Ugandans I have ever met. Until yesterday morning I couldn’t believe that this man (guard) could hold a grudge against anyone. He works for a private security company.
“Sir, I tested the war in Teso. A group of 20 plus rebels could rape your sister, wife or even mother right in front of you. And you could do nothing or you would die. Most of the women would die. I watched as relatives were slaughtered like goats. My father was a chief so he asked government to give us support and we got a lot of support. Now these Baganda are here saying they want to start a war. Let them start it. I will be on the side of the government and I will show them” the guard lamented.
I could feel the pain in his voice so to this I said, well, war is terrible. I was already thinking I am running late. I don’t know why I am listening to this conversation but I am still interested in knowing why he hates the Baganda so much.
“These Baganda are bad people. My landlady is a Muganda. A few months ago she took me to jail. I have two room at her house. One is my shop the other is my bedroom. One day she came to my shop and said, you are just a guard, how can you own a shop? Where do you get all this money? She tried to force her way in to my shop but I couldn’t let her because she was making all these allegations calling me a thief. So I pushed her out and then she tried to fight me. I didn’t know that was tricking me to beat her. I beat her seriously. That’s how I ended up in jail….” he said.
“But sir, can you imagine that this same woman also tried to trick me into marrying her daughter. She wanted me to kick my wife out so I could marry her daughter. Her daughter was even pregnant for another man. I refused! These Baganda are just thieves. They love money too much. I hate them! ” he continued.
At this point I was wondering whether he actually knows that I am a Muganda. My guess is no because he was speaking without holding back.
“Sir, these Baganda should just test war, I pray. Once they test like this, they will never open their mouth again. They are here celebrating Namugongo. That is nothing. Let me leave you so you can go to work sir. ” this time his eyes looked watery.
On my way to work I reflected on his story. I kept asking myself, how did we get to this point? Everything seems to rotate around our tribes now.
Assuming that he didn’t know that I am a Muganda, I chose not to reveal. I wasn’t sure whether this was necessary or even helpful in this situation.
I think the Baganda have “tested” some wars – Obote exiled Sir Edward Mutesa in 1966. Whether they have fought a war is a question for another day. My mom has told me some stories of the 1985 violence and the regimes before that.
Whether this guard was aware of this history, I dont know.
Even though I totally respect this guard’s opinions and was deeply touched by his story, I don’t think he is right to declare a war against the Baganda. Call me selfish but a war based on tribal segregation can get really filthy. I know so because I saw traumatizing pictures of the Rwanda genocide and the post-election violence in Kenya.