27 November 2012

Uganda: Quick Talk - Ssenkubuge, Sober Man of God

Charles James Ssenkubuge cuts a comical figure, at least for Quick Talk, and so on seeing him, Quick Talk grins and then bursts into subtle laughter. Ssenkubuge, he might not even have noticed it, smiles back.

He is wearing a pink-ish or was it purplish shirt (?) and looks rather innocent. Bambi the innocent-looking man is about to engage in talk about his underwear. But first, Quick Talk asks about size (ahem) and food.

What's your favourite food?

[Like Quick Talk is unserious] I don't like food. [Silence follows] If I could go without food, I would be happy. [As if inspired] If Americans could design a pill that you would take and not eat for a month, I would take it. [Derisively] Food is dirty.

Yiyi, that's a little extreme. Food isn't dirty.

[Disgusted face] When you are eating, you get dirty. [Accompanies this with actions that show that the mouth and shirt get dirty as one eats. Surely, Ssenkubuge no longer dirties his shirt while eating!] The eating places in Kampala are dirty. [And?] My teeth are also not very good.

If you don't like eating [and so don't eat much], why are you that size?

I give myself peace. There's a time I fasted for 40 days and I stayed the same. [Veering off topic] There are shorts I used to wear in 2001, they still fit.

How old are you?

[Energetically] This is my jubilee year. I'll be 50 on December 2. But I won't make a party that day. My church will be celebrating [something Quick Talk didn't quite catch] and Radio Simba will be holding its finals for the Engule competition. I'll celebrate on the Friday after.

[Talk about how people from a certain generation don't celebrate birthdays culminates into Ssenkubuge revealing that he recently marked 20 years in marriage. Quick Talk had heard that he is a polygamist]

What do you make of polygamy?

[Firmly] Polygamy no. It should be discouraged. A man should be with one wife.

[Coyly] Aren't you a polygamist?

[Smiles a big, guilty smile] I used to be. When you talk to people, you realize a lot of stuff is hidden behind doors. Life is a bit complex. But one wife, one husband is best.

What are the pros of monogamy, seeing as you've experienced both types of marriage?

The things being done today are because of peer pressure. Someone's wife can be 100% ok but because this one's friend is doing it [has more than one wife], the other also does it. [Peer pressure at 40? Lord, save us].

Are you a romantic?

[Derisively] I don't think so.

Who's your favourite politician?

Where? [Quick Talk says locally] No, they are all liars. Museveni would have made it but he says it himself, politics is a dirty game. That means he is dirty himself.

You stood for elective position...

Yes. I stood for president. [Said with a bit of huffed-up pride]

That was in 1996...

1996? I wasn't of age. [Haha. Quick Talk thought Ssenkubuge was ripe for presidency in 1996 but he corrects her...] It was in 2001. But I wasn't talking about those elections. I was talking about the recent ones where you went to Taiwan aka lost. [Ssenkubuge stood for MP for Busiro South]

How did you feel about that loss?

I was surprised. I was the only candidate. [Really? So Busiro South has no representative in parliament?] People today come and say that I should stand again and I tell them I will never. I was back to work the following day.

I joked about the loss on the morning show [Radio Simba]. People thought I'd ask for three months to cool off but I didn't. [Shya. Three months? That would be too much "compassionate" leave].

What do you like about Uganda?

It's green, cool and has got great weather.

What do you dislike?

The politicians [who likes those?] and public servants. I also don't like Ugandans' double-faced and hypocritical nature. It is especially among the Baganda. When you are around, they are all praises. [Claps hands to demonstrate the praises].When you go away, they say, "ekisajja kyantama" - (I hate that man).

Who is your best actor?

[Smiles enigmatically] Andrew Benon Kibuuka is good. Mariam Ndagire and Leila Kalanzi are my best actresses. Ndagire is cool. Kalanzi is loud.

And your worst?

I will not say but we've got many bad actors.

Ssenkubuge is a presenter and creative director at Radio Simba. He is also the chairman, Bakayimbira Dramactors and a Minister of God/pastor. He will soon or has already added the name Jared, which he pronounces, with quite some flair as Ja-ya-d, to his three names. Ssenkubuge doesn't know the meaning of the name Jared. "It's just a name. My American pastor gave it to me".

Ssenkubuge loves God and no, he didn't get saved because of life's hardships. "Looking back at my life, I saw God's hand in it and got saved."

He doesn't regret anything in his life save for not knowing God earlier. Also, he is shy and doesn't drink. "The devil is a liar. He makes you believe you can only be confident after a beer. I stopped drinking after getting saved".

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