HOW BAGANDA HABITAT PERMEATED LUO HABITS
Updated: May 17, 2021
HABITAT DETERMINES HABITS
At the turn of the century, Nyanza Basin was the centre of the economic activity in East Africa. Yes, there were European large scale farms but at the beginning Nairobi was not much of anything but a convenient stop-over like Las Vegas or a hide out for the elites while on their mischiefs. In fact, it was rumoured to be the place where royalties ran to “give birth” of premarital pregnancies. Everything by then was the lake basin. All the imperial explorers were rushed to put their flag on the lake basin. Even the railways construction was rushed to the lake basin despite British parliament groans. The airports, the elite schools, the top University all headed to the lake basin.
And even after independence much of the settlements by Kenyan urban migrants was in Uganda. That is why you have this Nam Lolwe population who held dual loyalties in sports of boxing, football etc. The great footballing Aces were dual citizens. The Oronges (including James Goro Oronge) are Tanzanians and Kenyans. Former MP Job Omino, Gor Mahia ace Tim Ayieko; Benga star Owino Misiani. I could do a who is who of dual citizenry and you would be very surprised.
Naturally the populous Baganda life permeated the Kenyan population that settled in Uganda. For example, politeness of the Baganda women was fully appreciated by Kenyan men and women and is still visible amongst the westerly Luos of Siaya with such attributes as wife material and all that comes with Baganda women habits. And it was a double barrelled osmosis of culture. Kenyan men also learnt the deftness of handling the women folk. This is very obvious when you compare Luos between the two sides of lakes in domestic mannerisms because lesser of the Luos on the south of the lake needed to live in Uganda. I will stick to Uganda.
The Baganda women appear meek but are strategic geniuses. Say in matters of infidelity they are super strategists. While Kenyan women will resort to violent fighting in public and engaging the intruder in order to strip of her dress so that people can see her under wear, the Baganda will act the opposite way. In such an instance a Baganda woman will work out a strategic plan that is adjusted every day to thwart the intruder. If say a Baganda woman discovers that another woman has intruded in her house and may be is even now pregnant, she will not be aggressive. Instead she will encourage the friendship, “ooh Banange, at this time she needs your company. Ooh Banange you men are not good, go and stay with her”.
In all this her approach is “less is more” and once the man realises that this is a full time baby care, the man will run back and that will be the end of the matter. That is typical non-violence fightback of the Baganda women.
Such tendencies have also been assimilated by Central Nyanza men in all areas be it in business and general culture.
The Baganda smooth unethical practices also permeated the Central Nyanza Luos settled in Uganda. The earlier business malpractices that led to business moguls in Luo land were mostly from Central Nyanza. And these are where big transport, wholesale, import and export ran side by side with white colour crime.
I was lucky to work with a very gifted but notorious kleptomaniac white collar pervert. The Hollywood blockbuster ‘Catch Me If You Can’ surely was the life of this guy. But only one side of his life because he was many things including a die-hard fan of my football club Luo Union FC and fondly known as Re Union FC.
This man did not care about government politics of the day. All he cared about was the cheques he could forge. He weighed slightly less than an average sumo wrestler with same round face and drank vodka like a fish. But he had a razor sharp mind. I must say from the beginning that I did not see anything wrong with what he did the same way I don’t fault todays tenderpreneurs in the fashionable government dealings.
We supported the same football club, ReUnion FC. Actually he was not a football fan. He was a ReUnion FC fan. And he loved nothing like getting in the skin of buddy Gor Mahia fans with banter at a Kaloleni eatery, now Kosewe eatery. Luos who despised ill-gotten wealth liked him maybe because your enemy’s enemy is your friend (those days the Moi government was not a Luo friend). Or may be the same way high profile gangsters are looked up to and movies like Al Capoone, Untouchable made of their lives. Anyway, in general people liked him despite his white collar crime. He was fondly thought off among Nairobi Luos.
I liked him because as an executive official he told me off gently and with humour so that I would go out of my way to make him happy. There was this time I used to switch home match venues at short notice. So he called me and told me that he went to city stadium and Nyayo stadium and did not find the team. Then was told the next day that the team-played at Ruaraka stadium. He said he did not mind if we are beaten at football and now we want to try athletics or cricket. We should just inform him. He said he even heard that we played at Woolley Kibera. He said, that is okay if flying toilets is a better sport but Gor Mahia fans are better stone throwers, “am I sure that they are not experts at flying toilets?”. Message conveyed. I still laugh at the jokes of 'Yuor-Asiala Simprosa'.
Perennially as elegant as Baganda sebo and perennially as smooth as a Baganda Musaja. The police knew what he does. The special branch knew what he does. The CID knew what he does. The Judiciary knew what he does. I suspect even President Kenyatta and President Moi knew what he does because their cheques used to be forged as well but they could not catch him. But they could never catch him. Uganda law enforcement knew him but they were helpless. Sometimes I think forging cheques was a thrill and that is why he relocated back to a more civil Kenya shallow fishing waters to have fun. Such games you don't do in a dictatorship. Just ask the mafia during dictator Mussolini's time in Italy. They don't ask questions. Just one one line from Idi Ami's illiterate buffoon's in 'evolving broken' Kiswahili. "Here is another mafuta mingi kutoka Nairobi. Rudisha Nairobi ndani ya Mbuta". And you are dinner served to Lake Victoria Nile perch!
His speciality was banking a government forged cheque of say Kenya shillings 200,000 (200Million now) in your account and then withdrawing everything. The investigation trail would lead to your account then out. Since you have no idea you would think it's a bank error. The bank and police would be too embarrassed to tell you that your account has been used. It is a crime alright but it is no more sordid than an LPO hunter in the Kenya of today.
Around this time a MwaKenya, (anti-government insurgency against President Moi government) person who is being interrogated could just shout a random name out of the blues in the heat of torture. And they would go for that person and bring him to make him squeal more lies. Otherwise they would do things to you. Things that I cannot even write because the mention of the things make grown up men hold their knees tight. Let us say it the opposite of mentioning fmg near a woman.
So this time they picked my Reunion FC cheque fraudster. They searched his house and found nothing political. Not even a newspaper to use to charge him with sedition. Honestly the man did not care about politics.
So they took him in the police cell and kept interrogating him. Leading the team was a petit female police officer who kept on deriding his tribe. She asked, “We know you Luos have many houses with many useless wives. Do you have another house?"
He answered, " Yes".
She commanded, "Quickly Take us there. Haraka haraka. Umenona kama nguruwe."
He directed them to Waiyaki way... towards Westlands...past Agip Motel, ABC Kenyatta magego.. Cables and Wireless, Kianda College. .kept going past the then Zambezi motel... as they were passing Naivasha the lady officer asked, "And where is this house of yours?"
He answered softly "masiro kathieno"
She shouted hitting his heat, " Wapi?"
He answered "Ugenya Masiro, Siaya"
This answer made the male officers smile because this young female officer had been throwing her weight belittling them as if she is the knows it all that will prove there is MwaKenya and get promoted.
The lady police officer ordered the vehicle to make a U-turn and head back to Nairobi police station where they had come from.
Back at the station she was livid. Heaven hath no fury than a woman scorned. And she was more than scorned. She had been conned by the cheque fraudster and was seething with fury. Back at the police station she let go with all violence at the Reunion man.
They went through routine after routine of a Kenyan police cell torture tactic. Then there is this police cell torture tactic where they lift you and let you fall. Any injuries cannot be traced to the officers. So she called on her 5 colleagues to help lift the rotund ReUnion FC man. Her colleagues had now changed positions and wanted the ReUnion FC man to go free just to prove her a failure.
They lifted the ReUnion FC man intending to let him fall. I told you this ReUnion FC man was cleverer than a water snake.
The 5 colleagues had the heavier weight by the sides. This Lady officer was holding the lighter head only by the collar. As soon as they were about to let him fall, the ReUnion FC man kicked the wall hard forcing his body to catapult towards the lady officer. You can imagine the weight of sumo wrestler propelled landing on top of the lady officer at the speed 10 metres per second per second. His body suddenly becomes a missile. He landed on her with a big thud that reverberated in the station walls.
The woman screamed and cried, "Umenimaliza, sitazaa, Umenimaliiza woooooi". (You have finished me; I will never bear children). And she started wailing loudly in the station.
Senior officers came running and the female officer was rushed to the hospital. And one of them who was a senior in charge of white collar fraud asked, "Is this not the notorious ReUnion football man?"
They confirmed it's true he was the infamous Re man. He asked them for a recess from the torture. Then he told them that this guy’s business is ReUnion Football club, cheques and vodka. Not politics. And he added, "If you use your full names near him then watch out, your bank account is in danger. We know him but he is too clever. Let him go or all forged cheques will lead to the station!"
Just like that, the ReUnion FC man was let go on account of the Baganda smoothness that has permeated former Uganda migrant settlers and more or less the Lake basin white colour crime today.
I am sure a who is who of Kenyan white collar crime will be concentrated in areas on the cordillera of Baganda culture.