Saturday, March 2, 2013

Kategaya Dead. I also have grown so old.

See a newsreport of Kategaya's death here.

My memory of Kategaya tells me I knew him before I made ten years of age. He had been invited by Hon. Shem Bageine, who by the time of Kategaya's death is a junior minister in the ministry Kategaya headed. Then, Bageine was a Member of Parliament and he was central to a fundraising ceremony for St. Paul, Nyanja Primary School where my mother taught at the time. Hon. Kategaya came to the fundraising as Guest of Honour with his wife, Joan. I remember every detail of the day vividly. My father bought a small table at a very high price. That table is still busy doing its job, from then, in the 90s.

Anyway, I am no longer a toddler. Kategaya is dead. Between the 90s and now, so much has happened. In the 2000s, when the debate was rife on whether Museveni should have a third term in office, Kategaya took a stand that inspired many of us, teenagers then. He disagreed with Museveni. He left the NRM. He was a founder member of FDC. I wrote a poem about these individuals who disagreed with the big man then.

Someone who was Resistance Officer No. 2 in the formation of the Resistance Movement and Army that has made Museveni everything he is, just threw in the towel on principle. Kategaya's image as a great person was cemented in my mind. This is why I could not forget the 1990s' fundraising. This was a great guy afterall. The table my father bought at that fundraising in a way became a big thing because that ceremony had great guys like Kategaya in attendance.

Anyway, we know what has since happened. He later changed his mind and rejoined Museveni. We do not say bad things about the dead. About the old. Kategaya was in his sixties when he died. An age that should command respect. I was in fact one of those who were miffed that Dora Byamukama, that woman who failed to make it to the Speakership of the East African Legislative Assembly, could throw flowers at this old man in his sixties. Kategaya in response said that Dora is a 'bad mannered girl'. I am in my twenties. Kategaya has died in office. Museveni is his age-mate. They are of the same generation.

In remembering and celebrating Kategaya's life, we should remember that we, who have childhood stories that have these men as central figures, are being robbed of the glory of having role models, by what is happening in their old age, while they remain in office. Their legacies are being destroyed before they die. Let them atleast not die in office, that way their legacies can survive. I send condolences to the family of the late and his friends.

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