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Frank Gashumba has only one child, contrary to the grapevine

Frank Gahsumba in office

Frank Gahsumba in office

Like corporate offices you see in movies, FRANK GASHUMBA’S is no different; the burgundy theme wallpaper is delectable to the eye, not to mention the very hospitable receptionist that showed me to the conference room where I would interview Gashumba from.

As I waited, a group from Patriotic League Uganda [PLU] joined me. One of them was trembling, saying he was going to be abused for bringing 10 people when he was asked to bring five.

Gashumba is PLU vice chairperson for central region, as well as a businessman, social critic and father to socialite Sheila Gashumba.

[As the interview starts:]

I will start by thanking you for giving me this opportunity. Tell me, what is your earliest childhood memory?

[A flash of happiness envelops his face]

Huh, how do they call it in Luganda? Gogolo. Do you know it? [Quick Talk answers in the affirmative: Gogolo is skidding downhill]. Imagine pouring water on the small hill, sitting on a banana stem and swish, it takes you downhill. Sometimes we would sit three or four people on the stem. Nice!

And when we would go home, they would beat us because [gogolo inevitably meant torn and dirty clothes. Again.]

How old are you?

I’m 50 [Gashumba was born December 3, 1974 in Villa Maria, Masaka]

Why are you a single dad, yet you could get any woman you want?

Hehehehe ... you see with someone you’re going to marry you have to be very careful. This is someone you see every morning. This is someone you see before you go to bed.

And personally I believe I’d rather live a single happy life than a properly married [but unhappy] life. I know many friends who are married, but trust me, they [spiritually] divorced 20 years ago. When you look at them, they are a couple, but privately they parted ways. Actually, there are many single mothers in marriages. Do you get my point?

Yes, I do. How many children do you have?

I have one [Sheila Gashumba].

Quick Talk always heard there were others! Are you satisfied with just one?

We are back into practicals; we are going to get more! [He laughs loudly].

Who was the greatest influence on you, growing up?

My grandmother, Sarafina Mukandanga. She’s here [he shows Quick Talk a framed picture on his table.] They walked from Rwanda to Uganda [Gashumba is a co-founder of the Council for Abavandimwe – Ugandans who are descendants of Rwandan immigrants.]

Speaking of walking from Rwanda to Uganda. Do you ever yearn to settle in the land of your forefathers? Great things are happening there!

No, I don’t miss Rwanda, because I’ve never lived there. Even my parents never lived in Rwanda. I see Rwanda as a friendly home. I love Rwanda, I support Rwanda. That’s why you see President Paul Kagame’s picture here. But I’m comfortable being a Ugandan.

I hear you. Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have dogs. I used to have cats too, but the dogs I have are too wild. They killed them. I have a German Shepherd, a Japanese Spitz and a Maltese.

What would you define as the happiest day in memory?

The day I spend time with children. My happiest day is the day I interact with children, mainly babies – kindergarteners. [There is a knock
at the door. A pastor, whom I had found in a meeting with Gashumba, enters to pick up a phone he had forgotten. He leaves after praying for Gashumba.]

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Actually, I wanted to be a priest. [seeing Quick Talk’s stunned look...]

Yes! I was chased from a seminary. I was there for two days.

Two days. Why did you want to be a priest?

That’s where my calling was, but I think God realized that He could not deploy me there, and threw me out.

What were your parents like?

My mum still lives in Masaka. If there is a true Christian in Masaka, I think she’s the pinnacle for Christianity. I’ve not met a kind person like her in my life. My father passed away in 2019, and he was the toughest man. I never – I don’t recall – ever experiencing love from him. He was always rough.

Do you believe in life after death?

No. I believe when you die it’s over.

Tell me about Sheila’s birth. What went through your head as your partner was in labour?

Yeah, it was my first experience. First of all, Sheila was delivered at Nsambya hospital. But I was in the compound; there was no way I could go into the labour suite. Eeeeh no. I can’t witness a woman delivering a baby.

Why? It is actually encouraged

I can’t, no. So, I stayed the entire time outside the hospital. When she was delivered, life started. Beautiful life.

On a different topic. What inspired you to join PLU?

We must create a better country. We need to see the smooth transition of power. And General MK [Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the CDF and son to President Museveni] has all the credentials.

He has gone through all the military colleges, universities, he has served in the military. I believe he can guarantee the security of us and our properties in this country.

Does your joining PLU mean you are getting into the government?

No, actually people tend to confuse it. As much as I support General MK, I don’t subscribe to NRM.

I mean, is this your foray into politics? Maybe an MP someday?

No. I don’t think I can ever be an MP. First of all, politics has faded to the extent that voters no longer want people who can deliver; they want people who can attend burials and the rest. I’m a fertile seed; a fertile seed cannot germinate in a desert.

Which football club do you support?

Sports club Villa.

And internationally?

None. Even if you gave me one billion, I cannot name two players in those clubs.

How would you describe yourself?

I know what I want. I’m very focused.

And how do you think your friends would describe you?

They say I’m tough.

What advice would you give to the youth aspiring to be as successful as you are?

They should be focused, they should seek guidance if there is a need, they should get mentors. And they should not jump a step. They should never jump a step.

How does one find a good mentor?

You must identify someone you look up to. When you identify someone you admire, you find a way of getting closer to him/her.

What is the best decision you have ever made?

Not joining politics. Not joining elective politics.

What is the one thing you wish the public knew?

I wish they knew that politicians don’t care about them [he shakes his head.] They are users.

Were you always successful?

I don’t know who determines who is successful. I’m not a billionaire, but I live a fairly good life. That is success. I live a good life. I thank God. [As Quick Talk starts to ask about Sheila, Gashumba ends the interview in a definite indicator that this is a no-go zone.]

ashleymwesigye@gmail.com

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