Quick Talk visited Maj Gen Wasswa Kasirye Gwanga at his Nakisunga country home, which he named Camp David. After a tour around the farm, we sat down for mchomo and, of course, to talk business…
[The presence of Gwanga’s two big Mastiff dogs briefly unsettles Quick Talk, but they are well trained.]
Naye General, how did you acquire such a huge chunk of land?
It’s only idiots [raises eyebrows in a menacing manner] who ask me such stupid questions. I’ve been here for the past 32 years. I have my land title and no one has ever contested it. No one can even dare [laughs]. But don’t worry [he pats Quick Talk’s back]; you’re not among the fools I’m talking about.
Why don’t you have a Christian name?
I’m a military man; just know that. [He dips his piece of mchomo in hot pepper as if to emphasize his point]. Anyway, my other name is Wasswa, but my twin sister Nakato passed on.
General, you’ve carved a niche in life as a notorious person. You mainly make headlines for the wrong reasons such as impunity, why?
Hehe…I actually like it that way. As a veteran of many wars, you have to instill a bit of fear whenever you sense looming danger, because if you don’t do that, people can trample on you.
You saw what happened to the idiot who wanted to steal my land in Kajjansi [Gwanga actually burnt a grader that had been brought to work on the contested land]…since then no land grabber has ever troubled people in that area. So, for me I prefer to use deterrent methods instead of reconciliatory ways.
I like Faridah Nakazibwe’s show in the morning (Mwasuze Mutya, on NTV) but recently a guest insinuated that I’m illiterate…I felt bad, but withheld my anger.
So, what was on your mind when you shot at Catherine Kusasira’s car recently?
Do I need to explain myself all the time? Anyway, my children cried out to me how a gang had invaded them and was threatening violence on them.
You see my children have grown up in the USA and have not been used to such unruly life…I didn’t take it seriously until I reached the scene only to find drank idiots screaming on top of their voices. I looked at them and felt pity, the only way to pump sense was to shoot at their car tyres and within seconds normalcy had been restored.
Looking at how big this place is and the farming activities, you must be a very rich man!
I’m glad you’ve seen the light. People out there ignorantly talk about Kasirye Gwanga but they don’t know the real me. They say; ‘what [sensible thing] can he say apart from enjoying his waragi?’ First of all, I have no debt in life, not even Shs 100. Go and tell the world I’m a top-class farmer; a f**king trillionaire.
How many children do you have?
Wano ewaffe omusajja tebamubalira nzaalo [In my culture, you cannot count a man’s offsprings]. Just know I have enough children and I also gave them the perfect foundation in life and I don’t owe them anything anymore.
[It is indeed a fine meal we are having, but Gwanga seems shocked that Quick Talk consumes more hot pepper than him:]
Mbwa gwe…nga kamulali omulya nga binyebwa? [Hey, how can you chew hot pepper like groundnuts?] Ho! Your woman is a warrior.
[Gwanga calls up his mastiffs to finish the remaining pieces of mchomo and it soon dawns on Quick Talk that they too are eating the same quality of meal like us…]
I like the dogs to guard me because they can never betray me like people. I don’t even trust my bodyguards more than my dogs.
I can imagine! So, how do you describe your life these days?
[Lights a cigarette and puffs away] I’m just living my life the way I want. I’ve stared at death more times than anyone in the world and to be here still energetic [He flexes his biceps] is already a miracle. In fact, I’m soon writing a book about my life and adventures.
You’re now a retired soldier, what do you miss most from the army?
I miss nothing, because even before I retired, I was doing nothing. They gave me a retirement package of Shs 600m, but that’s too little. I haven’t even touched it and I don’t plan to do so anytime. I actually feel refreshed now that I don’t have any stress. See my new look of trimmed beards? I now feel youthful.
What kind of music do you like?
I’m an Afrigo fan; I don’t go to bars but with Afrigo I attend. I also like David Lutalo, but I hate these idiots who are always fighting and making songs putting down others. In my spare time I listen to country music….it cools me down. If you didn’t know, by the way, I’m starting a radio station soon and it will be playing only country music. I also like reading. In fact, I’ve read more than 1,000 books, especially novels.
What else do you do in your spare time?
I do sport shooting [Quick Talk is bewildered]. I know idiots don’t understand this but when you have achieved everything in life, you only have to do such things. I do it when I visit game reserves.
I’ve never heard of or seen your spouse…
We military men don’t get married. We just make children and we don’t expose our women like you wananchi. [He becomes so emotional and pauses for about 20 minutes, looking on the verge of tears] I got my first wife while still serving in Amin’s army. She died.
The second one I got her during the  war…she didn’t survive it. I got another one after but, unfortunately, she also died. The one I have now is in the USA. I’ve lost three women. After what I’ve been through, I can’t allow anyone to mess with my wife.
Understandable. Miss Curvy or Miss Uganda?
Look at this idiot…you cannot compare the two! We all like women with curves, don’t we? Not those skinny bodies like logs. Let’s not be hypocrites here…I don’t see anything wrong with [State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Ssuubi] Kiwanda’s idea.
That’s what made David Lutalo famous with Kapapala. I didn’t hear anyone ridicule that song. [The general has some very passionate reasons why he is in support of Miss Curvy, but Quick Talk reserves them for when this ceases to be a family paper]
What is your long-term plan for Camp David?
I want to be buried here, first of all. At my ancestral place in Mityana, I’m not even sure the burial grounds will be there…not with the rampant land evictions.
It has been nice spending the day with you, General…
Now go and write your nonsense, but if you write what I didn’t say, you will see my B-side. I promised you some chicken, but you didn’t remind me...now feel free to chase and take any you capture.
[Quick Talk looks at the many free- range chicken and realizes chasing them will be a programme for another day, and sets off for Kampala.]