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By Paul Waiswa 

The 1990s were the time people who loved hip hop listened to full albums because each had several remarkable songs. There was the Kriss Kross group with the album titled Young, Rich and Dangerous. Away from the 1990s and the US, that title best describes Sipapa.

We do not need records to know that Sipapa is perhaps the socialite that has been behind bars more times than anyone else. He has been there on charges of fraud, robbery, illegal possession of firearms… name it. Yet, if stinking rich was a person, it would be Sipapa. And, he is still young. Young, rich and dangerous.

Childhood
Born in Soni Lakwari, Kirewa sub-county in Tororo district, Charles Olimi alias Sipapa studied at Kayinja Primary School, Soni in Tororo and after P7, he might have dropped out of school.

“He attended primary school, but after that, I never saw him joining secondary school or tertiary insitution,” said Sipapa’s neighbour in Soni village, who preferred anonymity.

Sipapa’s persona is shrouded in fear and mystery and many will not talk about him.

On arriving in Kampala, Sipapa resided in Makindye, a place said to be the heart of Uganda’s pop music. While there, he performed several errands in addition to being a ground music promoter. His avenues from grass to brass are shapeless and diversionary. He once owned a recording studio dubbed Sipapa Records and a bar called Hyve Pub, all located in Mutungo. All are now defunct. They were only decent businesses. Then, he suddenly became rich, something that kicked off several myths, legends and conspiracy theories about the source of his wealth. There are unfounded claims that he robbed a white woman, that he was a robber and gang leader, and even a fraudster. Dangerous?

He lives large, which is his only claim to being a socialite. He throws money about (Ki-Nigeria style), moves with a convoy of posh cars that include a Land Cruiser V8, Cross Country, Mercedes Benz and BMW, accompanied by bikers. When he is not dating a fairly popular musician, he is punching above his weight, physically speaking. Rich?

Sipapa cars
Sipapa’s car in Kamwokya. He was accused of drive-by shooting in August last year
With his supporters in Kamwokya

How Sipapa stormed, conquered showbiz
Upon arrival in Kampala, Sipapa established his base in Makindye and for a while worked as a music promoter. He at one time hired top musicians, including Bobi Wine.

In 2012, Sipapa engaged some ‘noisy’ media personalities, who thrust him in the faces of the unsuspecting public. Whether money exchanged hands in this engagement will not be debated here, but the lithe-bodied man got the fame he craved for. Media personalities were often with him in hangouts, were part of his money throwing parties, and word was that he gave some cars and expensive gadgets. To the public, he still remained a mystery.

After conquering the media, Sipapa took on supporting financially poor yet talented musicians and won hearts of music gurus. With his bags of money, he became almost a controller of various giants. He signed fresh and struggling musicians for a short while. He instantly just quit the business, leaving the musicians hanging on mics. Among the founder members of the team are Trekaman, Buchaman, Brown Shuga (then wife), Gerald Kiweewa, Serena Bata (then his girlfriend) and Melody.

He has recently tried to rejoin the business and signed a block with a name as dangerous as the boss, Record Ella Butidda.

Sipapa and Butidda
Brown Shuga
Serena Bata
His studio in Mutungo
Sipapa playing with musician Full figure at the Vision Group office in Kampala
At the Great Trek last year

Accused, accused, accused
For Sipapa, it is accusation after accusation, after accusation. He was once accused by his woman, Brown Shuga, of domestic violence, that he regularly thumped her. Serena Bata, his ex, came to his defence then, claiming that when she still run things in the house, the only reason he would touch her was to caress her.

Prior to the last elections, Sipapa was also accused of a drive-by shooting in Kamwokya, near the National Unity Party offices on August 30 last year. He reportedly made a stop-over, a small crowd protested and asked him to leave. According to eye witness, the two men with him shot and a few people were injured. The Police’s reaction: “We are investigating the matter.”

Sipapa has an on-again, off-again friendship with Jose Chameleone. The two were once involved in a bitter quarrel, which culminated in Chameleone claiming that Sipapa is a robber. He posted pictures of a person with a keen resemblance to Sipapa, who had allegedly been arrested in a robbery.

Sipapa and Chameleone at the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards at the Kampala Serena Hotel in 2016
Sipapa’s car that is rumoured to have been smashed by Chameleone’s hanger-on

On Sipapa’s arrest earlier this year, there were several allegations thrown about – a gold deal gone bad, a robbery in Najjera, illegal possession of firearms and there are still probably more people making accusations against him to this day. Dangerous?

But somehow, Sipapa (which translates to I am not rushing) survives. What a mystery!

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