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My father had 55 children

By Agnes E. Nantaba

Dr. Asuman Lukwago, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of health talked to Agnes E. Nantaba about his love for a revived health sector

Any three things we don’t know about you?

I hail from a polygamous family where my father had 55 children and 175 great grand children at the time of his death. I am a Muganda of Ankole origin and my mother comes from another country.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Putting efforts into something and seeing it happen as planned.

What is your greatest fear?

A mismanaged future that depends on what was laid in the background; we all need to be certain about the future.


What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Obsession to work; I am a workaholic to the extent that the desire for food or anything cannot drive me from work.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Not working hard; I believe that at a time ‘T’, we must produce results.

Which living person do you most admire?

Freedom fighters like President Y.K Museveni. He is determined and believes that we can make it as Africans. Others are Bill Clinton because of his approach to African problems; while others saw it as a dark continent; he saw a lot of potential in Africa and believed that market capitalism is the solution to African problems.

What is your greatest extravagance?

The want to help others; I can miss a meal to help the needy.

What is your current state of mind?

I am worked up; I am working hard to revive the health sector.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Power; people think that you can do anything with it and so end up abusing it.

On what occasion do you lie?

I don’t lie but I can withhold information especially when its impact is harmful.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

I developed a bold age at a young age when I was in still in high school. Without it, I would have short haircuts.

Which living person do you most despise?

People who are overtaken by material things; they end up getting tempted.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

One who can aspire to build and inspire with a track record.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

An honest and hard working woman who can value productivity and not an attention seeker.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Am not an extremist but I value my wife, children and mother.

When and where were you happiest?

When I made it to university and graduated with my bachelor’s degree.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I am a bit light on people; so if only I could change to a person who enforces punishment or be an immediate disciplinarian. I could also change and value meals.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My biggest achievement will come to pass when I accomplish the journey of reviving the health sector especially from the infrastructure perspective where everyone can access quality health services.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I am satisfied coming back as Asuman Lukwago the African and doctor to save more lives.

Where would you most like to live?

I can comfortably live anywhere in Uganda.

What is your most treasured possession?

My life is the most important of all possessions.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

To lose a parent but also to have a country that is in confusion.

What is your favorite occupation?

I am happy being a doctor.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Am forceful on getting results; I over follow up since I am more impact bound.

What do you most value in your friends?

If they can protect my interests; I believe we can leave a track record.

Who are your favorite writers?

I read a lot of publications from International Growth Centre and TED.com

Who is your hero of fiction?

George Orwell, the author of `Animal Farm’; how he imagined how unfair a system can be.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

They are majorly fighters. People like Nyungu ya Mawe and Mirambo.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My dad (RIP) and mum; a big family of that magnitude makes some fathers to leave or abandon their responsibilities but he stayed with us. And for my mother, few women would stand such a polygamous family, but she stayed and became my closest person.

What are your favorite names?

Names like Shania and Ryan; I have even named them my children according to musicians because I like music.

What is it that you most dislike?

Dishonesty, laziness and lack of commitment to work.

What is your greatest regret?

I don’t want to regret in life because I will get an adult crisis.

How would you like to die?

I want to die for a cause. If there is a cause, I should not retreat from it.

What is your motto?

‘For God and my country’ and ‘Home for Africans is Africa not the partitioned countries’.

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