Who is Jamil Mukulu and is why is he such a threat?

From a local boy he weaved his way into terror networks and unleashed terror on Ugandans. Born on the first of January 1964, Jamil Mukulu embarked on his journey into Islamic extremism as as a member of Salaf Sect in the 1990’s.

Born Daniel Steven, a Catholic, Mukulu later converted to Islam and quickly got involved in terror and built contacts with other terrorists in the world. While in training in Khartoum, he became close to the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden before he shifted base to Afghanistan. He later also established contacts with Al Shabaab as soon as it was aspiring to become Al Qaeda’s arm in East Africa.

The main aim of Islamic leaning terror groups is to replace secular governments with Islamic ones.

In 1992, Mukulu was part of the Muslim youths who clashed with police at Old Kampala Mosque which left four policemen dead. Although this was seen as an isolated incident in reality it was the start of the Allied Democratic Forces which Mukulu would head in the future.

Years later security forces spotted a rebel training camp in Buseruka, Hoima district. It was raided and believed to have been decimated but survivors escaped to the Democratic Republic of Congo from where they regrouped, trained and received supplies from terror sponsoring states like Sudan. It is from DRC that they launched their first attack on Uganda in Kasese, 1996.

From then on, UPDF fought the terror group. To contain them UPDF had to cross into Congo in 1998 only to get ensnared in the Congo crisis. From its  save havens, ADF  set up cells in Kampala which it used to set and detonate bombs in entertainment places wreaking havoc killing tens and injuring hundreds.

Efforts to eject them from the thick jungles were futile but at least Uganda security staved more attacks from 2000.

In February 2011, Interpol released a red notice for the arrest of Jamil Mukulu in connection with the June 1998 Kichwamba Technical Institute massacre, in which about 80 students perished.

Their mode of operation is highly clandestine.

Their activities have since been on the low, because they have been fighting more of defensive battles in Congo against the UN and Congo forces.

Mukulu who was Jamil has been imprisoned in the national prison, in Luzira at one point has managed to keep the army and police on their toes by disguising with many faces.

He has several passports and permits from different countries. He has a British passport as a British national under the name Kalagire Pantaguli. He has a Kenyan driving permit, a Tanzanian passport and over four Ugandan identities.

From December 2014 and early 2015, the ADF has been named in rampant killings of leaders of Muslim sect leaders in the central region and businessmen. These are said to have been killed because they refused to co-operate with the rebel group.

Jamil Mukulu was also named to be behind the rumours that spread early this year on whatsapp claiming that the minister of Kampala Frank Tumwebaze had been fired.

Currently, it is still a speculation that Mukulu was arrested last week in Tanzania.

World-wide terror groups have in recent years suffered major setbacks after their top leaders are killed or arrested. It has happened to Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Al Shabaab. From these examples the merchants of terror become less effective after the death of the top commander. Though they survive under new leadership their vision is blurred in effect scaling down on attacks. But as one terror group is about to be written off another and a more lethal one springs up. The ISIS became a threat almost immediately after the death of Al Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden and groups like Boko Harama are allying with it. Unless totally whipped out ADF remnants can also mutate into something else.


Leader of the ADF

Change has already come but the pill is too bitter to swallow.

Change has happened, what next?

Change is already come

Change is already come

Last week, there was a heated debate in one of the whatsapp group chats in which I am a part. It was about change. One black sheep, so he seemed was against certain changes. Okay, it is not that the hinges in the wheel of his mind have rusted in a certain time, he was just against how the change was happening. And everyone else seemed like they were part of the crowd that stood in the Pontius Pilate’s court as they shouted “crucify him!” They hurled at this ‘black sheep’; questioning his inability to consent with the irreversible wheel of change.

This heated debate made some members of the chat group philosophers, others irrational debaters, while others took time off to reflect on how far we have come. I think I fall in the latter group. You see, we live in a really weird age; an age where we know everything and nothing. An age where we know how change has happened over the centuries and our imagination has driven us to science fiction as we try to imagine how change will raid us. Our imagination has driven us too far from reality that we do not recognize change even when it happens.

Change has already come but the pill is too bitter to swallow. Here are some areas that prove existence of change but we have;


Many people can testify that the image of a midwife a decade or so ago was one of a mother. But now, what has become of our midwives? We have little children for midwives! Young girls in their teens who have just budded and branched from O’ level. They have no idea whatsoever what it is like to have babies. At least these are some of the comments you’ll get in hospital corridors. Finding one to trust is difficult. The few good ones are also fighting to distinguish themselves from the stereo type but it is hard.

One of my petite friends (only four 4’5 tall), Nabuzale Jane a nursing student at Uganda Christian University, is faced by challenges of mistrust from expectant mothers. I can understand their fears. Perhaps if I were in their shoes I too would cry, “hell no” at the sight of a child-like midwife.

It is a mixture of desperate pregnant women, desperate youths looking for a living, a desperate government to fill hospitals with medical workers, desperate mother midwives trying to mentor and save their vintage beloved image.


Recently, the “moving encyclopedia” and retired judge Justice George William Kanyeihamba expressed his disappointment at the quality of lawyers in the country. He picked at the Uganda Law society for being a jungle of cunning business men rather than lawyers who ought to strive for justice.


Chief justice Bart Katurebe while quoting a friend at his congratulatory party by the NGONIANS noted that it is only in this day that you can have a lawyer in club all night yet he has a case to present in court the next morning. Then he turns up unprepared and all he can say is, “my lord, I cannot see some of my papers, I ask for an adjournment.”

Shame! I can imagine lawyers like August Vollmer cursing. They must be wincing at the thought of what today’s lawyers have made of that noble profession. Good for them they are long dead. You may name about ten more things that you thought were parallel to lawyers until you saw today’s.


Growing up, my idea of lecturers at the university was that of moving knowledge banks. Professors who stood before a class and spat facts in every word and as a student you just had to figure out what to take and what to leave.

Alas by the time I got to the university it was a different story. Where I am currently, we study so hard that classes go up to 7pm on Saturdays. We are pumped with handouts. Lecturers dictate notes like it used to be when I was in primary school. There is no difference!

As for university research, the papers we do, the coursework, my Oh my! At least student 80% of university students cannot defend coursework they did. Chances are high you will find a student who does not remember the thesis statement or introduction to the coursework they handed in less than a month.



As for journalists, don’t even get me started. I have met many ‘business men’ masquerading as journalists. They only cover stories where they are assured of ‘lunch’ (in monetary terms). I have met several who do not know media ethics and journalists code of conduct. Some of these have never studied journalism or mass communication for that matter. They just landed into the field while looking for means of survival. Unfortunately, most of the good and senior journos have been sucked into public relations. The highest population in many newsrooms and media production houses is young. With almost no senior to shoulder the burden of mentoring.


Perhaps it time for us to create our new standard of journalists.



Professor Kanyeihamba while addressing Nkumba law students recently grieved for a country with highly unread students. The accomplished author was smitten when the M.C announced the title for his new book with omissions. Time and again many learned people have complained about how the reading culture has greatly deteriorated.

I love reading; I do not dispute that. I love finding out a lot of information. But lately, I have been struggling to read, even papers. I am now doing it as an obligation instead of the passion it used to be.  Some say it is a general African/Ugandan problem. Recall the saying that if you want to hide anything from an African write it on paper. In this highly electronic age and the social media, sci-fi age, it is a hustle to be buried in a book.

blog reading

Now that we have all these and more changes, what do we do? Before you complain about the quality of graduates in a particular profession, has it occurred to you that the cancer is general? Perhaps this is simply a different way of doing things that should not be compared to the olden days. We need a new approach to life issues for change, the bitter pill has already come.  Let just embrace it.



Amelia Martha, the writer Amelia Martha, the writer

Synopsis: I tell a story of an opportunist whose life is rotated around using men, taking risks like asking for lifts (hitch hiking), but this time, she stumbles upon a wrong one.

The car made the loud squeak as it was forced to make a sudden sharp turn. Off it headed in the opposite direction. Its speed increased by every minute like it was determined for victory in a car race. Save for this, the destination was unknown; at least for the only passenger in the car. Suubi sat on tenterhooks in the co-driver’s seat. Her eyes darted from the people outside to the road and back to the driver. She watched shockingly as he stepped aggressively on the accelerator with his heavy legs. He wore such a smirk on his face. As if saying, “I have got you now, what will you do mouse?” A…

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In the third and last part of this story, we find out the fate of Suubi and the mischievous Marvin. Did he mean harm, or good? Will she give up going to church? We left off when Marvin had complained of running out of fuel. They are now at a petrol station.

Suubi jumped out of the car. She was ready to run without even looking back. As she was about to close the door, Marvin pleaded with her to come back.

“I had no fuel to take us to Najjera. That is the only reason why I turned back. Please get into the car and I drop you as promised.”

You must be crazy to think I can get back into this car, Suubi thought to herself. She looked around to see check if she was causing a scene. The pump attendant gave a knowing smile. It was clear to Suubi that this man thought she was a dramatic girlfriend trying to cause a scene. She banged the door and took a few steps to go away. Marvin called her back.

“What is wrong with you? Get in the car and I take you.” His tone was gentle but authoritative. How are you going back? We are almost in the middle of nowhere!

She started walking heading towards the road. He started the car and drove slowly alongside her.

Look, I know I must have freaked you out. I am sorry I did not explain why I turned to the opposite direction. I just needed fuel. I promised to take you to church. Yet I did not want to get stuck on my way back. Please get in to the car and I take you. I can’t leave you here by yourself. He parked a head and he waited for her. Suubi felt sorry for him. She felt guilty for thinking of only herself. She almost forgot how afraid she was when he was driving her into the wrong direction. “Oh God, I had such selfish thoughts. How could I not think that he would have got stuck after dropping me at church?” She thought.

She entered the car. They both fastened their seat belts and off they set back into the road leading to Najjera. There was a deafening silence. Suubi even feared to look at him. She then wondered why he had not told her that he was going to fuel his car. He even had a lot of money in his wallet. She saw it when he was paying the pump attendant. Why then was he crying about not having money to fuel his car? Was he just trying to test what kind of girl she is?

She got out of her thoughts. Marvin was now driving rather fast. Suubi looked at the speed meter it read 90km/hr. She must have got out of her thoughts because of the speed. On noticing that she had been caught gazing at the dashboard, she asked rhetorically “You are really driving fast, mister.”  He did not move a muscle. He acted like he had not heard her. Suubi tried to brush off the tense atmosphere in the car but with no success.

“Wait! Where are we are going? You have just driven past the turn that leads to my destination!” He did not say a word. There was silence for a moment. Marvin raised the windows and gave a loud sarcastic laugh. This time she could not hide the fact that she was alarmed. He increased the speed some more.

“You are such a silly girl! Now that I have fuel, I will take you where I want to. I will do anything I want. I saw you enjoying the loved-girlfriend treat at the fuel station. We would make a lovely couple right”? He stole a quick glance at her to find a disgusted face. He roared with laughter. “I cannot believe you fell for my concern about how you would go. I must have such a gentlemanly voice”. He cackled. “Anyway, let me now be serious this time. Let us go to my place. We shall go to church next time, right? I will come to church with you when you are my woman”. The phrase ‘my woman’ was disturbing. It kept echoing in Suubi’s mind. He lifted his heavy hand and put it on her thigh.

She rubbed it off quickly. “Oh, I almost forgot that makes you uncomfortable. Why did you refuse to give me your phone number, huh? Why did you give me a dis-functional number? Anyway I won’t need it anymore now that I have you. You are so beautiful Suubi. You are a lovely girl”. He lifted his palm to rub her face.

At this point, Suubi felt like she could not take it in any longer. She was not sure what was coming next. She did not want to imagine where they were going and what would happen to her. Marvin seemed so random. He was like a chameleon and hard for her to predict.  Suubi was overwhelmed by the thoughts of her past advice from her mother. She remembers this particular one that refreshed itself in her mind as her mother said:

Women have the power to make or break a man they have the power to build them up or tear them down and apart. The words of a woman can encourage him, have him beat his chest like Tarzan, they can also completely lower his confidence down below sea level. Death and life are the power of the tongue.

Suubi recollected every bit of advice her mother had told her about men. At this point there was only one way for her to escape. She grabbed the steering wheel and tried to divert him. He was shocked. He did not see that coming. The car was now swaying in the middle of the road. Marvin was strong, but the force that Suubi was putting could not allow him to drive properly.

“Woman, are you mad? Do you want us to die?”

Let me go. I can’t stand your madness.

What is wrong with you? I said I was taking you to church like had promised.

I am no fool. You might even be a serial killer.

You are the murderer. I see you are trying to kill us.

And you think driving at 110 kilometers is sane, huh? She screamed in anger.

Marvin tried to push her off the steering wheel but she had a firm grip. Suubi was afraid for her life. She had promised her mother that she would live a desirable life. She was determined to succeed at all odds. Dying young or living at the mercy of a man was not one of her options. The thought of escaping and living for her mother’s sake is all she had on her mind. She continued fighting for the steering wheel.

20 meters away was a truck carrying a container. It was coming at a high speed towards them. Marvin slapped Suubi so hard in the face. She gave a shrill cry and released the steering wheel. He quickly grabbed the steering wheel and swayed the car off the road. They had just veered off the road when the first speeding track drove past them. It was a matter of seconds for them to collide. Nonetheless, the car fell in a ditch with the driver’s side falling in first. There was a small gap at the window through which one could squeeze themselves through and break out but Marvin couldn’t. He was stuck. His leg was caught under the seat and his fat torso was held by the seat belt. Suubi’s side stood slightly above the ground. She managed to bang the door open and jumped out. She ran and did not look back. She did not care how Marvin was. All she wanted was to be safe.

She took off her shoes and ran as fast as her legs could carry her. She was trembling. For long, she there was no car coming from either side. She did not give up the running. She had such energy in her that she did not know how she had gained it. Luckily, there was a motorcycle rider approaching. He did not have any passenger. She stopped him and hopped onto the bike. “Madamu, tulagaya wa?” Literally meaning madam, where are we going?

She just burst into tears. Confused, he rode into the direction where she was going, hoping that she would soon compose herself and speak.  He was afraid to ask any questions.  Her face was swollen from the heavy slap. The marks of the fingers were visible that they could even be counted. She felt her face was so hot like she was in a steamer. Her head was spinning. In her mind, she could not comprehend what had happened in the past half-hour. It seemed like it had taken years. She shook her head hard to wake up, thinking it was some sort of night mare but she was wide awake. It was not a movie. It was real! She managed to speak and she directed the rider to take her to Kiwatue, to her place of residence.

When she got into her house, she locked all doors and windows and resumed crying. She tried to fight the thoughts in her head but they kept coming. Will I ever meet him again? Should I report this case to police? What if he has died, they will jail me. She had tried her best to stay away from police all her life. “Perhaps this is a warning sign that I should stop hitch-hiking,” she thought. Maybe he is the only bad one. How was I so foolish? How could I not notice that he seemed wrong from the start?

“I do not know what I have survived, but I am sure I have had a narrow escape. I feel it within me that I have jumped out of a mouse trap. I thank you Jesus for saving me!” She prayed quietly.

Dear Lord, as I commit my heart into your care,

 Keep me safe within your hands according to your word.

 Teach me how to draw near to you.

 As I give my hurts and expectations to you, heal me and grant me the desires of my heart.

I cannot go back to that life I have been living.

Be my guide and my comfort you are the centre of my joy.

From now on Lord, guide my actions and protect me from any danger. Amen!




IN A MOUSE TRAP Part 2 of 3

In the previous edition, we saw Suubi stuck in stranger’s car. What were the stranger’s intentions?  Her mind took us through how she survived some of her past escapades before the current situation. In this second part of the story, we look at Suubi’s family and her mother.


On many nights, they had not even a nut to put in the mouth.  Her mother would hold her close to the bosom and cuddle her. Sometimes Suubi would not contain the hunger. She would cry almost all night. Sorrowfully but as warm as a mother’s comfort can be, Kezia would sing for Suubi in a shrill hungry voice;

Oli ihuli lyendisa muhuma wange, kafunjo komunyanja muhuma wange. Ngayaya ngaya muhuma wange…

On one of the nights when she was twelve years old. She decided it was time to know about her father.

“Mother, please tell me about my father?”

“I do not like to go to the past.”

“But mother, that is what you say every day. I need to know! What if he can help us with money?”

“Oh Suubi, you are such a child!”

“Please tell me please mother please!”

“It seems your stubbornness grows each day. Okay, I will tell you about him. You will not stay young after all.”

Suubi jumped out of her mother’s arms and straightened up for the story. Kezia posed for a moment as if looking for the rights words to start with. Suubi’s anxiety on the other hand was puffing up.

“Your father was handsome with a well-chiseled out body,” she begun.  “He had small sparkling eyes hidden deep into his eyes sockets. His authoritative and charismatic leadership earned him a large following in the town. He had a classic sense of style; he wore sharp suits and vintage perfumes only from French and Italian labels.  That was what was said about him. I later got to learn was indeed true when I worked for him. He was punctual for functions and seemed to have the right words to say always. You get your wit from him. Suubi was excited and wanted to hear more about her mysterious father.

“His wife Peruth was a strong willed woman.”

“What! Dad was married?”

“You wanted to know about your father, will you allow me to tell the story?”

“I am quiet. I promise I shall not interrupt,” she swore fearing that her mother would stop narrating the story.

Peruth always wore a tough face with her nose lifted up in the air to create a slight pout. In public, she defended her husband like a hen does her chicks. At 46 and 40 years of age, together they formed more of a strong ambitious coalition than a young marital couple. Your father had such a catchy smile. When his noticeably sparkling eyes met his snow white teeth, it was magic. It was like the warm morning sun kissing the peak of a snow-capped mountain. I always noticed something devious behind the charming smile just that I could not put a finger to it. Until one afternoon;

The mayor of Kampala in 1990’s, Balikuddembe William was paying a visit to your father’s home. Willy, as was famously known among his close friends, had just won a tough legal battle between him and the family of his late wife. He had few close friends and your father was among the closest he could trust. He was having a congratulatory party and considered your father’s house the safest because it was detached from the city. It was a big event. All the workers were filled with both anxiety and excited as we prepared for the mayor’s arrival that evening. The usual red velvet curtains were taken down and replaced with rich golden curtains. The kitchen was as busy as the heart of an anthill. Every staff had an assignment, but their paths never collided. Those who tended to Peruth were given leave early that afternoon. As the oldest maid in the house, I did the senior work. By 3pm we had finished all our work as ordered by the woman of the house. It was said senior people would attend the party and they wanted top privacy. I wanted to leave quickly and get three night’s rest but your father stopped me. He said he needed a senior maid to keep the house in order that evening. All the other workers had already gone.

Peruth was in her bed room busy getting her hair done. Their two daughters Tabitha, 16 and Zoe, 23 it was announced would arrive home in two hours’ time. For lack of chores to do, I pretended to be busy in the workers’ changing room. I ensured all lockers were closed. I was now inspecting the aprons on the hangers when a big voice thundered in my ear. I jumped to turn and see the source of the voice. I was shocked because I thought I was alone.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Nothing,” I answered feeling embarrassed. I tried to excuse myself but he held my arm firmly forcing me to come back to where I was standing. He swung my arm then tripped me, with my chest first to the ground. It all happened so fast.

She paused a moment, biting her lower lip so hard to stop herself from crying.  She looked up noticeably trying so hard to fight the tears but they just blinded her big round eyes. She let out quiet sobs. Suubi looked away. She hated to see her mother cry. Thankfully she cleaned her tears with the slate of her palm shortly after.  She continued.

When I was sure I had now been left alone, I got off the floor. The whole world seemed to have turned dark. I think I had fainted because I lost count of time. I felt unspeakable pain between my thighs. I felt so disgusting; I wished I could put off my body and put on a cleaner one. Walking at the moment was difficult. But I had to be strong. I dreaded Peruth finding out.  I did not want any trouble with her in case she accused me of seducing her husband. I just became strong and tried to move out of the house as fast as I could without being noticed. I met Kulabako his younger brother on my way out of the house. He watched me as I moved across the compound with a lot of difficulty. I panicked but tried as much as possible to avoid eye contact with him. I wondered if he had found out. Remembering that he had a sour relationship with his elder brother- your father- was a consolation to my fears.  The two could not meet eye-to-eye. If they had to, like for family gatherings, it was for a short time. Kulabako was always quick to leave. All their talks ended in bitter arguments.

Kulabako intercepted me as I tried to move out of the gate. He insisted he was dropping me to my place. At that time, I felt I had nothing more to lose, I simply consented.

She stopped and paused for a while. She shook her head then resumed the story.

He told me he was sure his brother had done something stupid. “That beast, I wonder when he is going to stop his disgusting ways!” he spat the words with difficulty.

He was a man of very few words. I now could tell where the hatred came from. He knew something about his brother that the whole world did not know.  I had just learnt about that shocking side the crude way.  Kulabako took me to a health center and paid all the bills in advance. He rarely visited town. I never saw him again.

When I was discharged, my whole world had turned upside down. I had been advised to keep visiting the health center twice a month for three months. Two months later I learnt that I was pregnant. The doctor assured me that I could have an HIV negative baby if I gave birth from hospital. He was an American doctor – his name was Windhoek. I was among those few lucky mothers to get such services.

“Two years later, I learnt that your father died. He had HIV/AIDS but died from stress and depression.” Kezia stole a glance to capture Suubi’s reaction. Her face did not change.

“By that time I had long lost my job.” She went on. “I was back to Masaka. You became my only light in the thick shadow of the world.” At that point, both mother and child broke into sobbing. They crawled up and washed each other with each other’s tears. Kezia was sad that her child was not born of what she had dreamt of; a steamy romantic relationship. She was embarrassed and sorry to tell her daughter the story. Suubi on the other hand was sad and sorry that she was born out of rape. She was a bastard child in her father’s own family.

The two women had since learnt to take care of each other. They were emotionally attached to one another like Siamese twins. Together they developed a strong character and attitude so strong, so tall and so high like the leaves of the Mvule tree.

Kezia would recite for Suubi;

My daughter my lover

Birthed by

A pauper for a mother

With my

Heart I cherish and pamper

My life my gem

Do you know how precious?

I cherish the

Moment I first

Saw you in the world

Oh I was determined

That however monstrous

The world may be

I would shield you with the

Blessing and power

That comes with being a woman and a mother

There is nothing about relationships that Suubi’s mother Kezia had not told her. Because of the way life had been for Kezia, she had nothing to offer to her only child but everything in the world she could possibly have knowledge about. Kezia could not hate men because of what had happened to her. She had come to know the Lord deeply that she decided to take the walk in Christ because that was her only refuge. This meant that she was not going to hide men from Suubi but rather show her and teach her how to deal with men.

Kezia had taught Suubi good shopping skills, in the sense of fashion but applying the same fashion skills to men. Because relationships are like going to a boutique, one checks the label, feels the fabric, and looks at her budget and the like. The same principles apply when it comes to men too. Is he a self-made man or a vessel fashioned and yielded to the Lord? If this man isn’t completely sold out to God, leave him in the dressing room. If a man is not submitted to God, he will not love you the way you want to be loved.

Suubi’s past was her well-guarded secret. Her physical appearance was a typical stereo type. Many thought of her to come from a posh family.  To some, she looked like a typical rich spoiled child. While to others she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She was beautiful and intelligent and seemed to have it all. She had a tall, lean body with small but well-rounded hips and chest and legs straight like sugarcane stems, though much bigger. Her I-know-who-I-am attitude made her rather intimidating to her peers. She always wore her hair in a neck-length bob and her lips, ever cherry to match her tender light skin. She walked with an upright and sure gait.

Suubi moved to the city at 18 years, a year after the death of her mother. She sold the little land they had and the house and decided to start a new life in the city. Kezia always prepared Suubi for her death; she was sickly, she knew she would pass away anytime.  It was tough starting without her mother, but she had promised to be strong and succeed against all odds.

Suubi did not do everything according to her mother. She was not prayerful. Even using men, Suubi knew it would not please her late mother. “I am not doing sleeping with them. I am only finding means of survival,” she always consoled herself.

In the third and last part of the story, find out what happened to Suubi and her hysterical driver in whose car she is trapped. Did he turn out right? Was she imagining things? Or was he actually a wrong character. Here is a sneak pick.

Suubi jumped out of the car. She was ready to run without even looking back. As she was about to close the door, Marvin pleaded with her to come back.

“I had no fuel to take us to Najjera. That is the only reason why I turned back. Please get into the car and I drop you as promised.”

Don’t miss it.


Amelia Martha, the writer

Amelia Martha, the writer

Synopsis: I tell a story of an opportunist whose life rotates around using men, taking risks like asking for lifts (hitch hiking), but this time, she stumbles upon a wrong one.

The car made the loud squeak as it was forced to make a sudden sharp turn. Off it headed in the opposite direction. Its speed increased by every minute like it was determined for victory in a car race. Save for this, the destination was unknown; at least for the only passenger in the car. Suubi sat on tenterhooks in the co-driver’s seat. Her eyes darted from the people outside to the road and back to the driver. She watched shockingly as he stepped aggressively on the accelerator with his heavy legs. He wore such a smirk on his face. As if saying, “I have got you now, what will you do mouse?” A mass of thoughts raced through Suubi’s mind. I cannot scream, this is a fast moving car no one will hear me. I should open the door and jump out. But no, I will die. The mere thought of her rolling over and over on the tarmac road in agony was traumatizing. I cannot stay in this car either; where is he taking me, for human sacrifice? Is he going to rape me? His evil smile only made Suubi’s desperate state worse.

He bent and searched the little space between his back and the chair. “What was he looking for? A gun? A knife? He pulled out a phone.

“Give me your phone number,” the stranger whom she had now learnt is called Marvin demanded. Suubi pretended not to have heard. She dreaded giving this stranger her contact yet she was afraid to refute his request lest the bear raves with madness. Marvin holding the steering wheel with one hand extended the phone to Suubi this time attempting to be a little polite.

“Put your phone number in here.”

Suubi looked at the phone, then at his face to capture his expression. She looked far into the road. She however kept observing him from the corner of the eye. Marvin clenched the phone and hit his fist on the wheel. He shook his head in disbelief as he added gear to the already fast moving car.

Suubi sank into her own thoughts wondering if this would end up like one of those tales she had read about in newspapers. Am I one of his victims? At that moment, Marvin broke the silence;

“What do you think I can do with your number huh? I have only asked for your number, is that too much to ask?

He spoke between his teeth. Every word came with difficulty. She stole a glance from his face and looked away again. Suubi found his stunt rather amusing. I am old enough to know that ‘is that too much to ask’ is an innocent phrase used to trap many naive girls. She thought.  Like any good actress, she kept all her fears in. I cannot show this man that I am frightened. She swore to herself.

Suubi always held dear the lessons her mother had taught her.  Today, what worked was one on why it is smart to keep your feelings to yourself until you have a clearly read on the kind of person you are dealing with.

After a long drive in silence, Marvin’s commanding hoarse voice interrupted Suubi’s thoughts again.

“I am out of fuel; do you have money on you?”

Her eyes popped in disbelief. How could a man ask her for money to fuel to fill his car? She wasn’t sure if the car stopping at the fuel station amidst the unpredictable journey was an opportunity for her to escape or a smooth fall into the devils claws. Marvin kept complaining about how he had forgotten to carry enough money to fuel his car.

“I cannot release money to a stranger,” she thought.  In her life she has always been receiving money. “Why in the world would he be asking for money yet he took the wrong turn.”

“I do not have money. And, where are you taking me?” she demanded.

“To my house,” he said with a rather mischievous smile. Don’t you want to see where I live, huh? Don’t you want to find out what I do?

She replied him with a sharp piercing look. She was disgusted by his audacity to play on her mind. She hated that a man had outsmarted her for once in her life. She abhorred that she did not see this coming after the expertise of taking too many risks in her life. She had always managed to get away safely. On all of them she had fled unharmed like a gazelle escaping from a lion’s claws. Impressively she fled with no marks of claws on her. How did this happen? How would it end? Her mind drifted off to some of her past escapades.


One Friday night after work, it was about 9:30 pm. She dreaded the boredom of being home alone, with not even a television to keep her company. She had only transport back home and just enough to bring her back to work the next morning. Asking for a free ride seemed like the most feasible option should could use. As she walked through the parking lot, she noticed a new white car. Even better it was a Benz. There was a figure of a man in the driver’s seat. I should hurry and find out where he is going to before he heads for the main road. She took about ten well calculated big strands to reach the Benz. She bent a little, requested for the window to be lowered and inquired about his destination. She was almost confident he would say yes, and yes he said. Both Suubi and the stranger whom she believed was a colleague working in one of the many departments International Wire Packaging and Logistics were going to Kiwatule.  Instead of the obvious Nakawa route he went through upper Kololo.

“I am avoiding the traffic jam,” he explained. Without waiting for a response, he went on to ask: which department are you working in?”

“I work in the I.T department. I am a system developer.”

“Oh, I love your brainpower. You know that is a section dominated by men for a long time. I love it when I see a woman using her brain.”

She blushed.

“Have you had dinner yet?”

“No, I will get something as I go home.”

“I do not want to cook.  I want to eat before going home. I hope you don’t mind stopping somewhere for dinner. Are you on a hurry?”

“No,” she replied shyly. She somehow had no choice. It was his car; he could stop anytime and get anything without seeking her permission first.  Inwardly, she was pleased with how he treated her. “This is what I deserve,” she thought. He drove to Sheraton Hotel in the city center. Suubi was so surprised, but she managed to keep it to herself.

“Come on, let us have dinner then go home.”

That was music to her ears. She had no supper for the night, and now she was going to be treated to a perfect buffet. The whole evening, Sam – as she had later learnt- was the perfect gentleman. He encouraged her to eat and showered her with many compliments. She was careful though. She maintained a tone of authority and professionalism keeping in mind that they worked in the same company much as he was in the technology department.  Later, she insisted he drops her at a supermarket near home. She insisted that she had groceries to buy. She was not ready to show her place of residence to a perfect stranger. She dreaded familiarity from her workmates.

Another one of her favourite memories was when she first went to a bar. Tired and lonely she walked out of the office through the parking lot. One of her work mates happened to be driving away. He slowed down to offer a ride.

“Where are you headed?” Jay-Jay asked.


“At this time? Come on girl, it is a Thursday! Let us go have a little fun as we usher in the weekend. I see you are still young and damn sexy!” She noticed his two friends in the car ogling at her body. She wore a red body-hugging knee-length dress. It flattered her small hips and gave her a bold womanly look. She gave them a piercing intimidating look and declined the offer. Jay- Jay apologized for their behaviour and tipped them what kind of girl she is. They looked very apologetic. Now that she had set the boundary, she entered the car. Smitten, they all bowed for the ‘queen’. She enjoyed the treatment.

They went to Laviola, one of the latest bars in town. That is where all the snobs hang out. While there, no one bothered to coarse her to drink or ask her for a dance. She put up a perfect act for a first timer in a bar. Otherwise, she would have fallen prey to all. Jay-Jay later chauffeured her home.


Suubi,s mind wandered back to how her day had started; a Sunday morning bright and beautiful as always. She had stepped out of the house, walking head held high with a little cat walk through the drive way. She noticed a black SUV at the junction right at the corner of her house. Through the wind screen, she could see a fat man seated in the driver seat following her with his eyes. “I am looking gorgeous and I am definitely used to the stares” the thought ran through her mind as she balanced herself with pride on her shoulders to avoid eye contact with his mountain stranger. He hooted continuously until Suubi was nudged to look his way. He gestured her to come over and well Suubi did pave her way towards the SUV thinking he might be stuck and needs help. She moved over to attend to the stranger.

“Good morning,” Suubi said humbly. She was naturally polite, but the idea of being sharp was never escaped her mind.

“Good morning,” Where are you going ma’am?”

“To church”

“Where do you pray from?”

“Kingdom of Believers Church in Najjera.” She did not know the church well, but had been convinced by a workmate to go to church that Sunday. It was her first attempt in five years to go to church.

“Where is that?”

“A turn on right, five kilometers off Kira road”

“Get in the car, let me take you.”

Suubi was hesitant; she was used to the lifts like these but today was different. She did not expect anything from him like money other than just to be dropped at church. She was so excited about going to church that she did not think twice about the stranger and his seemingly kind offer.

The generous man had turned out to be complicated. And complicated was not a new character trait to her more so because of the stories from her mother, the only reason she was able to live and love her herself and build the kind of esteem she had. Marvin was seemingly turning out to be one of those men in Mother’s stories.

In the next blog, find out where Suubi grew up. Is it her mother who loaded her with craftiness or was it her father?

Here is a sneak pick;

 She was embarrassed and sorry to tell her daughter the story. Suubi on the other hand was sad and sorry that she was born out of rape. She was a bastard child in her father’s own family.

Suubi’s mother reveals how it all happened. You cannot afford to miss it! And in part three, how did the story end? Find out in my next blogs.


Recently, I took a ride to Mukono on a bright Sunday afternoon.

My mind kept running back to the church sermon and then reflecting on the splendor of God’s works. I was in such a jovial mood that I did not mind taking the back seat. Normally, I would have waited for another passenger to occupy it. See, being at the back of the van, every hump or pothole you hit tosses you up in the air. You can imagine how uncomfortable the whole journey is eventually.

Shortly after I’d sat, a middle-aged woman occupied the seat on my immediate right ultimately filling the three-sitter. My mind got lost again and before I noticed, the taxi was full.

Our journey to Mukono begun. Three minutes later, the mama on my right pulled out a polythene bag stuffed with six ripe bananas. As if apologizing for what she was about to do, she offered an explanation why she was about to eat her bananas; “I have not had a proper meal the whole day. The gentleman on her right accepted the ‘apology’ and from there they picked a conversation; you know how Ugandans are. No one is really a stranger. A conductor can pick a conversation with a passenger in another taxi while stuck in jam.

Before long, all the bananas were gone; deep down into the stomach! What happened next is normal, except, I twisted the normal story.

How dare you?

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

The now satisfied mama motioned me to open the window. I was about to then I noticed she wanted to discard off her polythene full of peelings. I declined.

I shut the window quickly and kindly requested her to wait till she finds a dustbin where she can properly discard the rubbish.

Hell broke loose. She was not amused in anyway.

But I was ready for the challenge. Ready to defend my cause. Ready to campaign for what I believed. Some of the words I was about to tell her I had rehearsed them for a long time. Many are the times when I looked on when people just threw rubbish out their moving cars. It haunted me. And then my gut troubled me with “you could have said this, you could have said that” till it chocked on my throat. I was not about to keep mum any longer.  And that afternoon was the perfect opportunity.

In an almost meek tone I inquired, “when you are leaving your house, don’t you want to return and find it clean? Would you love it if you found it littered?” She answered like I’d expected, “Of course not!”

She now started on how she loves cleanliness and how her home is clean. Bingo! I was moving her closer to my side of the argument.

I went on, “exactly my point! Uganda is our big home. You cannot go around littering it without a care. This is like your house.”

I pressed on, “the way you would love your housemates to keep your house clean, we all ought to do our part and not litter our country anyhow.”

But then she was not about to pack these peelings in her hand bag. The peelings seemed heavier in her hand now.

“Who cares? Just open the window and I throw the rubbish already. These peelings are going to stink!”

Lowering my voice even further, I reminded her that good thing she had tightly closed them in the polythene bag, a few more minutes would not hurt until she reaches home.

Ironically, she confessed that she would rather keep used sanitary pads in her hand bag all day, but not banana peelings. I was amused! But I did not show it. Her argument was that used sanitary towels are private and ought to be well kept.

The gentleman on the other side joined in. His argument hang on a fence though. Some other passengers had abandoned their conversations and were now listening. One young lady- probably in her mid-twenties – was nudged by the argument. She requested us to stop ‘quarrelling.’ “Why bother, she asked?”

I understood her position. I really did. Especially because I was alone in this yet my challenger was very lurid. I waved her off and told her we are having a positive argument not just quarrelling.

It was now time to throw in another ‘missile’. Again, politely I asked my contender if she had any children; in school. Oh she boasted about them. She told me how proud a mother she is and how her children are studying hard in high school.

I requested her to allow me be the image of her children. “When you send us to school, you clearly do not want us to waste your hard earned money. In return, we ought to implement what we learn in school. We are taught to keep our environment clean, for various reasons…”

This should have been easy, considering that she was proud of her children’s education.  She cut me short. Her problem was that a small girl was telling her what to do.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), she had reached her destination. She stopped the taxi. I think we said good-byes, I do not remember clearly.

Silence then befell the taxi. Deep down, I was pleased. I believe that much as I had faced resistance, my message was ringing in their minds. The gentleman on the extreme right now moved closer. He then whispered, “you know what, you are right. What you are saying is very correct.” He went on pointing out how society has ignored such things and blah blah blah.

I was disappointed that he feared to show his stand especially when the lady was still around. Is it because they had earlier created a rapport that he feared to ‘betray’ her? I was kind enough to accept his appreciation for my “brave argument”.

Join the campaign!

Whether she threw the peelings in a bin or not was now up to her. At least I had done my part.

I have not stopped my advocacy. When the person insists, I sometimes tell them to place the peelings in the taxi, or bus. These guys will clean up after the day’s work. It is better than dumping the rubbish in swamps, littering highways all in the name of KCCA guys are not watching or we are out of the city thus Musisi’s boys cannot arrest me here.

Join the campaign. If you are in the habit of littering stop it. If you find fellow passengers doing that, stop them. At least there is an example to follow if you do not know what to say.

For God and my country!