Opinion: A Love Letter To Gen. Elly Tumwine

By Banturaki Bernard Paddy

Dear General Tumwine

I am not in the habit of writing love letters to gun-wielding army generals, but the love I have for you today keeps pushing me. In fact, I feel like a virgin girl who has been kissed in the ear by angel Gabriel on her way to school.

I don’t know how you did it in the late 70s and early 80s, but for us who became active in the 90s when there was no robust electronic mechanism for expressing love, we would express it only through original love letters. Social media and the Internet have really killed us!

For people like me who were brought up in a catholic seminary, writing a love letter was as risky as traversing the jungles of the Luwero triangle.

The Panga, as we referred to the function and or letter of expulsion, would not spare you if you were caught in any act of love or lovemaking.

You would be expelled at the slightest suspicion that you had fallen in love or at the slightest dream that you were planning to fall in love.

In fact, the slightest suspicion that you had a heart capable of falling in love was enough offense to earn you a loss of vacancy. This was a preventive action similar to the famous escapades of Kale Kayihura against Kiza Besigye.


Despite the risks involved, we did not just fall in love but we also practiced love. We practiced love as religiously as we attended the compulsory morning and evening masses. We also expressed our love almost as openly as you do it for the NRM.

General, to get a proper writing pad with a picture of the heart and a fountain pen, it required us to escape from school through a 5km thick jungle with a wide river in between.

In fact, those who we promised we would cross the ocean for should know that we meant every word of our promise. These were our beautiful ladies of St. Cecilia Girls School, deep in the interior of greater Bushenyi District.

Yes. We could cross the ocean for them! At least, there was evidence that we were already crossing a river, without bridges, just to purchase a writing pad with a picture of the heart!—a clear indication that water was not a bar to our love.

General, once we had purchased the writing pads, we would hire the best hand-writers in the school as well as the best at English comprehension.

The average consultancy fee for securing a properly packaged love letter was two pan-cakes.

Getting these also required another escape from school, with all the associated risks!! I cannot recall how many pancakes came my way on a daily basis.

We would then put éclair sweets and sugar in the envelope, alongside a strongly worded love letter. On the envelope, we would write, “mick mark it to the love of my life Georgina.”

The sad ending to my illustrious career as a professional writer of love letters came when, unfortunately, I closed one fateful love letter with “yours forever, sweet Paddy”. It was the year of our lord and savior 2000.

That day I wrote the best letter of my career—but for someone else’s girlfriend. It was not deliberate, but in love everything is serious. I had been hired at an extra pancake to write with extra passion.

Because of the strength of the words in the letter and the intensity of my concentration to earn an extra pancake, I was so taken up that I forgot to end the letter with the name of my client. Yes. I was writing for someone else.

A ferocious war erupted between me and my client to the extent that the priest on duty came running to separate us. In the result, both me and my client lost our vacancies.

That’s briefly how I lost my vacancy in the seminary, a process that paved way to making me God’s voluntary warrior, an advocate of the High Court of Uganda, a husband to one beautiful lady and the current father of five beautiful babies.

General, I have since 2000 not written a love letter!

If I have decided to write this one, it is because of the overflow of love deep in my heart, just for you; although you are the most unlikely candidate to have won my love.

Yes. You are the most unlikely candidate to have won my love; first because of that tail between your legs; and secondly because you are in the wrong camp—the yellow bananas.

I know you are still wondering why I fell in love with you despite our obvious differences.

General, in the right corner of Page 3 of the New Vision of Wednesday the 24th day of July 2019, I read that you were to face the Rules Committee of Parliament for alleged “disrespect”. The details are for you to prepare a defense to your case.

As I read deeper into the report, I discovered that one day you said that, “…the speaker is ignorant and parliament is just a syndicated cohort of individuals used to steal….”

As I read the last paragraph of the said report, I also noticed that you have now uttered words, which as a civilian I am not qualified to edit.

The report pointed out that you said; “…I have no problem appearing before parliament, a committee or God.” “….they acted like a mob……” “……I am not afraid to say that parliament’s quality of debate is declining, we spend time on trivial issues”.

General, except for your indication that you don’t fear God, these words have made me fall truly, madly and deeply in love with you. I am so smitten that if you were a woman, I would have freely allowed your dad to enter my dad’s Krall and pick any number of cows just for your hand in marriage.

But I advise you to leave God out of this. At least for the only reason that only He knows what will kill you and where you will go after here! At least I am sure you will not face God with a gun!

Otherwise, I am totally in love with you because, as the prophet once said in the clouds, the truth would one day come from within. No other person would ever have spoken the truth the way you did.

You called them thieves? Yes. In the history of humanity, the Ugandan parliament is the biggest cluster of thugs ever assembled and paid off the public purse.

That is precisely why at Page 7 of the New Vision of Wednesday the 24th day of July 2019, the speaker Rebecca Kadaga decried the parliamentary corrupt practice of signing for allowances without attending parliamentary sessions! What other indictment do we need?

The national newspaper showed the speaker Rebecca Kadaga expressing disappointment that the legislators were not living to the citizen’s expectation of being exemplary. She was reported to have castigated the MPs for signing for allowances without doing the work reserved for those allowances.

What other title would you give to such a team of nitwits other than calling them “a syndicated cohort of individuals used to steal”? Thank you General Tumwine for giving them the correct description.

In the past, we have watched them capriciously auction legislation and degrade the function of separation of powers by conniving with the chief executive to rape the constitution of the Republic.

What other description would you give of an institution that, for purely individual benefit, connives with another institution of government (the presidency) to illegally amend a constitution of the Republic?

General, today Uganda passes as the only nation on earth where dictatorship has been deeply entrenched in legislation! Thanks to the “mobocracy” in parliament because, today, in this country, everything wrong and autocratic can be done within the law!

We cannot assemble except with permission from a partisan police. There is a law allowing for such autocratic tendencies!  If we openly express anger and frustration, we are charged with offensive communication and or cyber harassment. There are laws creating the offenses and the list is endless.

Surely an institution that legislates only for the “gang-raping” of democracy; operates like a cartel robbing public funds everyday; and is full of chicken thieves only engaged in self service can only be called a “mob”—and this is purely for lack of other decent words.

Once again, thank you General Tumwine for giving them the correct description.

General, you also mentioned that the quality of debate has declined. Hahahahahaha. What do you expect of a parliament, which the executive is happy to sedate and only awaken them to vote? The only debate that exists between sleeping persons is an exchange of snores!

Where I come from, an old adage maintains that “wayehindura oruguzi nibakuneera”. In English, this means that “if you hold out as a latrine, you risk being defecated on”.

The Ugandan Parliament has lived the adage.  Together with their speaker, they are individually as good as dirty latrines, and they should not blame anyone for defecating on them.

In fact, it is even a favor to choose to use those stinking latrines for anything. They stink, and they may even infect our buttocks. When you meet those latrines, shit on them! For God and my country.

Yours in love,

Banturaki Bernard Paddy, Advocate.


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