By Adonia Waibale
We live in times of irreverence. All ye of fleeting freedoms, selflessness, big dreams and radical dispositions are being martyred. They have paid a hefty price for trying to make a difference in this ‘by gone’ nation of ours. For some, it has been their sacrifice for music that has left them on this course to the proverbial steak. For some, it is their loud mouth that derailed their destiny to the never seizing inferno. And then some, it is their love for smartphones and the elating feeling of standing in front of cameras that led them to take off their clothes, and onto this path of martyrdom. Like the Uganda Martyrs 129 years ago, they have made headlines in the media but unlike the Uganda Martyrs, these dotcom era Martyrs will burn and be forgotten. Some of you hate them because you can’t be them, others hate them because they are themselves and the rest of you just hate them because you don’t understand them. They will not be around to enjoy the fruits of their sacrifice but the rest of you will.
ANITA KYARIMPA FABIOLA
The question was never how fabulous she was but how she fabulous she would look with her clothes off. Many dreamt of that day and when it came, it was a case of hips really lie. In the case of Fabiola, when she sheds the clothes to take a luxurious bath, her hips go as well. And for misrepresenting the hip facts, Fabiola was fired from her NTV job. While the likes of Desire Luzinda catapulted into goddess-dom, and Zari of the dry wells swam into the Platinum waters, poor Fabiola got an ex-con to hold her hand. For Fabiola, poor thing, when she caught the nude fire and took off her clothes in front of the camera, she was caught in a furnace fanned by her own beauty – she was martyred so that nudes don’t get any more glory.
He laid his career as a lawyer to rest, to liberate this country from turmoil, sacrificing a life of affidavits, subpoenas and courtrooms. Nostalgic about the days in the bush, he stuck with his kinsmen and has been on the inside of the ‘kintu’ ever since. It was alleged that he had got a deal no lawyer could fathom; the political capital he had garnered toppled any legal tender. He believed the same until one bright day turned gloomy – when his position went up in smoke. He got burnt, martyred like Mathias Mulumba; only he will not be sainted.
The word martyr to a person like Ivan Ssemwanga is a synonym for all things expensive but don’t yield profit. If it wasn’t for his weakness for the spotlight, things like Zari’s all white party and Rich Gang shenanigans would be excesses to a holy lifestyle. His selflessness and financial muscle are responsible for the influx of socialites in the lands of Kampala and beyond. Whereas men like Desh Kananura were out there sentencing themselves to marriage and its shackles, building business empires and rally niches, cue Zari Hassan and Ivan dedicated his energies to funding drunken her stupors, her party binges and general happiness. It is said that of all things he wanted to add to his empire with a little girl but all he got were three studs. Then come the swaddling boy Diamond Platinumz ad he makes his (Ivan’s) woman pregnant. And guess what they are expecting? You got it, girl! Poor sod.
The legend of Zamba was born in the early 2000s in a dorm room at Makerere University and died ten years later. Even though the legend is gone, bits of him live on through artistes like Mun*G. He is remembered as the martyr who got burnt so Lugaflow could have a seat at the table of income generating arts. His fight with the non-believers was embodied with songs like Koyi Koyi. Armed with poetic lyrics, he managed to convert a few and groom a legion of Lugaflow artistes that eventually masterminded his fall from favour. He was so selfless with his spotlight that he willingly shared it but now that he is burning with a need for the spotlight, no one seems to pay him any mind.
It was probably his loud mouth and confrontational demeanor that earned him the position of Lord Mayor in 2011. At his swearing in ceremony, he made a vow to put the interests of the city and its people before all. It was his mouth that took him that far but it was his confrontational approach to leadership and the sheer Kikiga attitude that ordained him a martyr. For the people of Kampala, he has been tear gassed, man handled like a knock-off political lobbyist, he has been in and out of jail cells and even got on the wrong side of Jennipher Musisi, for this city. If that doesn’t make him a martyr, we don’t know what will.
He probably has more things in common with the Uganda martyrs than any martyr on this list: ranging from the personal initiative to save people from poverty and false indoctrination, to just fearing death. Gashumba has been immortalized for running his mouth faster than Usain Bolt on steroids. For having an opinion on everything except his daughter, Gashumba has been martyred. He has illuminated people on politics, poverty and the fact that opinions are like farts and that people should learn to keep them to themselves, never mind that he has made a career out of giving his unsolicited opinion.
Like the rest of the new age Uganda Martyrs, he also hails from a humble background and has the will and zeal to speak for what he believes in, even amidst extreme prejudice. Only difference with them is that he gets martyred every time he goes to work. For the people who argue for the sake of winning an argument, he has relinquished his intellect; to them he is a martyr of mind over matter.
For having dedicated his life to being in our ears, that alone would be enough to make him a martyr, anyone who sacrifices sleep for others (let us be honest, for Fatboy it is for money) is not only selfless but deserves to be celebrated, or in this case a video game named after them. To make this list, Fatboy surrendered his pleasures of getting laid so that he can help other men understand the mellower species. He has labeled himself a gourd of insights on women, religion and philosophy. Because of this stance on women, his never seizing inferno has been bachelorhood. He is reported to find solace in video games and holidays like ‘Palm Sunday’ (pun intended).
The irony in this particular martyr is that he is on the list for doing what the original martyrs could have done but chose not to – running. For a man with such light feet and guts, he should be running for a country that does not wait for him to win medals to reckon a man must build a house and drive a car before their legs can’t run anymore. But here he is. In exposing coach Wemali and his ravenous appetite for younglings, there were calls for him to become a Martyr.
When she was appointed KCCA Executive Director, she not only received resistance from the Lord Mayor, she was accosted with insults from all corners and human beings of all shapes, sizes and descent. She was public enemy number one for trying to get the Kampala, to world standards. But she took everything in her stride, danced for the public, prayed with and for them just to help them understand that her actions were in the best interest of the city and its residents. However, she is yet to patch up things with the Lord Mayor, even though it might not be in the best interest of the loud mayor.