By Mulengera Reporters
Kampala legendary tycoon Gordon Balaba Kasibante Wavamunno has poured out his heart like never before daring President Museveni, whose bush war he risked financing, to tell him what the Wava family did to him to deserve so much torment and economic marginalization.
The 76-year-old businessman from Rugaaga in Isingiro district (who has always been known to be grumbling quietly) broke his silence recently when he hosted 6 eminent journalists/political pundits at his 3 square mile size commercial farm in Nakwero near Gayaza.
These are Peter Kibazo, Ahamed Kateregga Musaazi, Charles Rwomushana, Aisha Kabanda Nalule, Siraje Lubwama and New Vision editor John Kakande. Every Saturday, these converge at Bukoto-based/Wava-owned Radio Simba to participate in Gasimbagane ne Bannamawulire [face the journalists], which by far is a leading weekend Luganda radio program airing 10-12pm. It airs on Simba 97.3fm and its moderated by Kibazo, one of Uganda’s most knowledgeable and well-read talk show hosts.
Among those Wava hosted, two (Kabanda & Rwomushana) were until not very long-ago influential assistants in President Museveni’s office but have since turned into avid critics of his regime. Veteran journalist Siraje Lubwama has this Tuesday morning published excerpts of what a tearful Wava told them while at the farm and published them in “Ono Bwino,” a Luganda weekly paper famous for insightful political reporting. It’s actually one of Uganda’s two leading Luganda newspapers the other being Bukedde.
WHAT HE TOLD THEM
Wava, who is also a diplomat being the consular for Hungary in Uganda, recalled then rebel leader YK Museveni sneaking into his home along with his 2nd in command Eriya Kategaya at the beginning of the NRA war. They used tricks and borrowed his monstrous Benz vehicle saying they had luggage of clothes to transport for the fighters.
He says this was untrue because in actual sense they loaded it with guns which Museveni, having curiously disappeared from Kategaya, dropped in different places including Ntinda and Mathew Rukikaire’s home in Makindye.
Wava, who has been a self-made tycoon since the 1960s as a young man, says he is shocked Museveni has never returned his Benz nor found time to have any discussion about it. He maintains the two rebel leaders were clear they were borrowing as opposed to permanently taking his Benz. Wava says he was shocked to read in Kategaya’s book (Impassioned by Freedom) that Museveni told him (Eriya) that he returned the Benz to owner Wava which isn’t true.
The influential Muganda tycoon, whose father Yovani Wavamunno only migrated to Ankole to take up the job of Muluka chief, had no kind words for President Museveni throughout his encounter with the big-name media personalities at the farm.
Describing him as a user who never remembers those who stand with him in difficult times, Wava also recalled the President’s mother Ester Kokundeka lodging out in his garage as her son executed the NRA war against Obote.
That Wava tasked his young brother John Kamya Wavamunno to always deliver food and ensure the old lady had a good time from the refugee of his own home but Museveni paid back the family by being spiteful. He says in 1999 when Kamya was arrested for participating in a robbery targeting a Barclays Bank bullion van along Entebbe road from which $20,000 was stolen, Museveni ensured the man was jailed longer than even what the judge had decreed in the final sentence.
Siraje Lubwama quotes Wava as telling the senior Gasimbagane scribes that, whereas Kamya’s other co-convicts were jailed for 20 years up to 2015 as court decreed, President Museveni ensured Kamya stayed in jail for three years longer. He adds that as a result, Kamya who was a very rich man lost many things and by the time he was freed, a vast component of his large estate was gone.
Wava told the group that as a family they economically lost lot of things, on top of the risk they took associating with Museveni in such a big way, but are surprised the man from Rwakitura has paid them by visiting so much torment on them as a family. “We did a lot and lost many things for his sake but because of the fatigue he now suffers from, he forgot everything. He is clearly taxing us out of business and that is how my WBS, which was the most prominent TV in Uganda, went under and was taken from me. My brother John Kamya who looked after his mother and fed her from my garage had to be jailed longer than the courts had ruled,” Wava is quoted as saying.
Wava, who is a close confidante of Tamale Mirundi (of the Abanyampi fame), has lately been speaking with anger about the Museveni system including appearing on Kabaka’s BBS TV to curse the NRM for shunning and mistreating his best friend Apollo Nsibambi who died recently. Using the same BBS, Wava has equally been very outspoken against state brutality meted out on Bobi Wine and Kizza Besigye supporters. His other confidante Minister Amelia Kyambadde, rumored to be equally disgruntled, had much earlier cried out against state brutality after her protégé Mohammed Nsereko was brutally picked from his home.
After narrating several injustices, he believes have deliberately been occasioned unto him, clearly aimed at economically crippling him, Wava turned and asked his guests: “As a family we deservedly want to know what did we do to this man [Museveni] to deserve such maltreatment. He has punished us too much. I’m a businessman who has made myself for all this period but why should Museveni viciously target me to lose much of my business empire in such a way?”
As he declined their request to interact with Kamya, Wava said as a family they need time to first establish what they exactly did to Museveni. “I know many of those people who came from the bush but just, like Museveni, they have all not remembered me,” an emotionally broken Wava is quoted to have told his guests. “I have helped many of those people. I’m the one who got Mbabazi from the village when he was still wearing short trousers. I carried him on my truck which was carrying offals to Kampala and he at least remembers me. Even Gilbert Bukenya I helped him a lot.”
Some pundits think Wava’s disgruntlement with the Museveni system began in 2007 when his contract to transport Chogm guests was cancelled at the last minute in favor of another company and his Spear Motors took government to court for that repudiation.
He told his guests that taxation is manipulatively being used as a weapon to cripple his businesses and turn him into a pauper. That his Wava water is being overtaxed to create room for foreign investors. Referencing on the Lubowa hospital investor, Wava said the Museveni state these days favors what he called Mafia foreign investors while strangling indigenous entrepreneurs like himself.
He added that even at Nakawa where his Spear Motors is headquartered, there have been efforts to use KCCA to distort his lease holding and get him out of the way. That outrageous demands were made requiring him to develop the place much faster than he could afford to mobilize the finances to erect the developments that were being required of him.
Wava told them there are many unappreciated contributions he continues to make to build Uganda as a private entrepreneur including employing many Ugandans scaling his monthly wage bill to over Shs1bn. He turned and told his visitors: “Once I begin to enumerate the things I have done for Museveni and this government; I’m afraid you people may have to spend a night in Nakwero. [Referring to the accommodation facilities, he added] The good thing I have been developing this place for a long time ago during Amin’s time and you can’t fail to get where to comfortably sleep.”
He enumerated some of the businesses he, as a patriot, has founded to develop this nation and these include a farm in Karamoja, another at Equator, Radio Simba and Nile Bank out of which he says he was frustrated by people using politics and extreme taxation clearly aimed at discriminating him out of business.
Wava, who is also a close confidante of the Kabaka, told his guests that over taxation forced him to sell his Nile Bank shares to Barclays Bank. He says he has also had to buy out some local-owned businesses after the original proprietors becoming very frightened of over taxation. As he repeatedly kept calmly saying “Museveni what did we do to you?” Wava also reflected on Sudhir Ruparelia wondering how he made so much money in such a short time. He recalled Sudhir being a forex dealer closely working with Nile Bank. He contrasted this with hard-working tycoons with a verifiable record of hard work who have had to sell off their possessions to overcome being jailed for defaulting on bank loans.
SUNNED BY M7
Wava, whose ancestry is in Kooki Rakai district, told his guests that even some few family members who doubted Museveni hates them confirmed recently when his brother Pidson Wavamunno died and the President showed no sympathy yet they expected hearing from him. Pidson lived at a place called Gaba Mission in Makindye Division. Wava says that the H.E. didn’t send any message yet this was a well-known person. Neither was there any official representation from government. Only Kampala Minister Beti Kamya attended the requiem mass and this was in her personal capacity as a family friend and someone from Kooki too.
URGES M7 TO QUIT
Wava, whose Nakwero complex comprises farming activities, a museum and accommodation facilities, told his guests that just like Museveni who joined politics at a younger age, he too plunged into business as a young man and its all he knows. He spoke about the importance of transition in everything narrating how he has gradually been exiting the day to day management and running of his business empire to his children and called on Museveni to do the same: prepare to leave politics within NRM and the country to the younger actors. “I’m only now an advisor as the children run all my businesses. Museveni should cleverly be advised to leave the country in 2021. Let him identify a young man he can trust and hand over to that one,” Wava advised as he saw off his guests. (For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).