You have seen him dressed in yellow, head to toe, complete with a yellow VW Beetle. You have seen him all over social media urinating by the roadside in the city centre, and who can ever forget that fist fight with Ayivu county MP, Bernard Atiku!
Arua Municipality MP IBRAHIM ABIRIGA has been in the media for all the wrong reasons.
Last Wednesday afternoon, however, Quick Talk had a chat with the ‘yellow MP’ at parliament and brings you the other side of this soft, yet outspoken hilarious soldier-cum-politician.
[Hee, he must have gone soft on Atiku… Otherwise, had he unleashed his soldier side…!]
So, Honorable, can you cook?
Yes, I know how to cook and I actually cooked for a long time. When I joined the army in 1971 around August, I was cooking for myself until 1975 when I married. But before that, I was cooking for myself. The best food even. Apart from matoke, kawunga (posho) and this cassava flour (bread) of ours, I can cook anything else.
Okay. So, what is your best dish?
My best is maharagwe (beans). I like maharagwe seriously with sweet potatoes. [Smiling] Even yesterday I ate maharagwe and sweet potatoes.
Is it because sweet potatoes are yellow?
No no… others are not yellow. But I select those yellow ones.
Alright, tell us about ‘madam’.
Madam is in Arua. [With pomp:] She is called Amina Ibrahim. She is a housewife. In Islam, your wife is not allowed to do business [Huh? All ye working Muslim wives...hear ye the words of wisdom.] She stays indoors for you [the husband] alone, not moving around for other people to see her. People will admire her for no good reason so, it is better she stays indoors. She is only for me and nobody else.
And how many children do you have?
With Amina I have about three. [Pointing to various directions as he speaks in a rather joking way] and then two from there, one from there, zero from there. They are 12 in total [Clearly, in Arua, unlike Buganda, men count their children]. You see, my elder children that I had in Idi Amin’s time all perished. God took them all. So, the ones that are remaining are the young ones that I recently had in the 90s.
Which kind of music do you enjoy?
I like this Afrigo band. You see, Afrigo band is good and we used to enjoy it a lot in Cape Town Villa, which is today called [Commonwealth Resort] Munyonyo. I like dancing to good music. Even on Friday we are going to Guvnor to dance.
Who will you be going with?
With my colleague. He is also a member of parliament and my closest friend [Quick Talk asks for his friend’s name] His name… [chuckles…] I don’t know it. I have forgotten it, but he is my best friend and we shall be together in Guvnor on Friday.
Hahaa... I hope your memory is better when it comes to your kids’ names! So tell me what kind of dad you are. Do you beat the children?
[Before Quick Talk finishes her question…] Aaaah I don’t beat children, they are my very good friends. You see, children should be kept well and be shown good ways of behaving. When they do something wrong, I talk to them and guide them.
Okay... And are you a romantic husband?
[He goes speechless for some moments. Quick Talk repeats the question] I know… [Speaking in a rather bored tone] I know… but I am not romantic.
You are not?
You see [regaining his passionate voice tone] for us Muslims, some things are different. There are a lot of things, which I have seen from Whites, but in Islam they are not allowed.
So, you mean Muslims are not allowed to be romantic?
No, no, no! That is at night. You see, for a woman, when you go with your man in the bedroom at night, God said remove everything [speaking with emphasis] and remain completely naked. And that is for both the woman and the man. Now, if you want to do everything of yours until morning, no problem. No one enters your bedroom. It is only the two of you.
You see, you girls these days, you tighten your buttocks [read, wearing butt-hugging clothes] and you let everybody admire your buttocks, but God said these things should be done to your husband, not everybody.
[Quick Talk can see some male opposition MPs finally agreeing with Hon Abiriga on something!]
I have to ask; is your wife okay with this yellow everything in your life?
[Smiling] Where will she go now? I am the head of the family. Once the head of the family directs something, he does not need permission.
So, she also wears only yellow?
No. For her she changes. Sometimes she wears yellow but other times it is not yellow. I bought her some yellow panties, seven of them. I don’t know whether she puts them on or not. You know I don’t be with her every day, because she is in Arua.
Awww. So, you don’t know how they look on her! Don’t you miss her?
I am missing her seriously. She is not near me.
Why don’t you bring her to Kampala?
Aaaah! Everyone is in Arua. My children, my wazee [parents] and she takes care of them [Eh.] I wanted to go for a second wife, but now you see my age has gone [Again, Eh.]
How old are you?
I am in my sixties. I am either 62 or 61. Around there [Quick Talk reassures him he can surely handle a second wife at his age] Aaah! No no no. I can’t handle now.
But I thought you do some fitness exercises.
No. I don’t work out and I don’t go for these gym things. I just eat, sleep, eat, sleep. That’s all. When I don’t feel good, I go and see the doctor. Exercises for what at this age? You see, I am going to die soon.
So, you are ready to die?
Tell me, from here where am I going? In the grave. I always tell my people that no matter how good your storied houses and golden houses are, those are not yours. Your house is down. Seven feet. That is your house. Permanent!
Wow. I like your courage. Tell me about your childhood.
I was very stubborn. And I was even strong. No child could mess with me. I was the boss of all the children in my village. But I could not take the stubbornness to my parents. I respected them. My father was a soldier with 16 wives and very many children. I was the fourth child.
And which schools did you go to?
Eh! You ask half of the questions today, the others you will ask tomorrow. You want to ask everything at once? [Quick Talk assures him it is the last question.] Some of these schools are not still there, but I went through mostly army schools.
Hon Abiriga was born to Yusuf Abdallah and Jena Yusuf.