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George Mutaabazi: On why poor people are a problem

George Mutaabazi, the chairman of Lwengo district, is a man of action. He came under the spotlight after flogging residents who are also his voters for laziness. He whipped whoever he found drinking early in the morning. He also passed a bylaw that prohibits any resident from constructing grass-thatched houses.

Kampala, Uganda |AGNES E NANTABA| As the first chairman of the district and barely a decade into office, Mutaabazi boasts of making Lwengo one of the most lit district, thanks to over 7000 solar power kits supplied within the district.

“The district has had a remarkable change in the education sector with UCE first grades rising from 250 to now 680 and the model for the district business council,” says Mutaabazi.

He has been soon by some of the people he flogged but he say it is orchestrated by politicians, whom he says look at communities only in terms of votes.

“I appeared before parliament and they grilled me over that and I explained my actions and I don’t regret because the returns are feasible,” says Mutaabazi.

He says his tough character dates back to high school where he was expelled from Kako SS for exhibiting an undisciplined character or what he terms as ‘mad cow’ syndrome.

Mutaabazi, who is also the president of Uganda Local Government Association (ULGA), says rejoining elective politics “was a call to serve and answering the outcry of many people”.  He has considered running for Member of Parliament but, he says, the heavy demands from voters are frustrating.

“Going to parliament may not be calculative; especially with the commercialisation of politics, because to run for MP, you need at least Shs300 million which can be put to other fruitful means.

“Voters have been set in a way to be recipients which I don’t agree with because my strategy is that it should be a transaction as its not worthy to give out free things as they are not sustainable”.

As a passionate entrepreneur and proponent of development, Mutaabazi is now considering moving into business which he has been involved in since his years as a student at Makerere University. While there, he would juggle school and selling paint from Nairobi. He says he inherited the business gene from his late father and shares it with his brothers.

He graduated with a bachelor in Sociology and geography and started work as a procurement officer at a coffee processing factory before moving to South Africa and later Spain where he got a Masters scholarship.

He then went to Rwanda and lectured at the University of Butare after which he returned to Uganda and sought to join politics but lost the elections. After several years, he went to the UK.

He married Charlotte Mbabazi with whom they have five children and while he chose to relocate back home, she chose to stay in the UK with two of the children. He says the long distance family life is a challenge. “It is difficult especially with the kids save for the internet that allows me communicate with them every day through the different platforms”.

Mutaabazi and two girls are the only surviving of the eight children of Stephen Rwamakuba and Veronica Mukamusana (RIP). Four of his brothers and one sister passed on leaving him with the responsibility of 32 nieces and nephews. His father was polygamous.

He recalls life as a peasant’s child, walking five kilometers without shoes from Kyalukwaata village in present day Lwengo district. He went to Kigusa Primary School, Mabirizi Primary School, St Herman Nkoni Boys, St Charles Lwanga Kasasa and Nakasero High School before joining Makerere University.

George Mutaabazi’s Liteside

Any three things we don’t know about you?

I am a hardworking person and the speed at which I do my things may not be healthy but I survive and aid development. I am trained in project planning and management so I set targets in terms of time and output that I work to achieve.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

It depends but when you make a woman happy, you have a deal for the whole family and community. When I was elected chairperson, instances of domestic violence against women were on the rise, something which I fought to reduce and I am happy about it.

What is your greatest fear?

The worst enemies of this world are poor people because such people are frustrated and angry so knowing that they are there and that I have to interact with them makes me fear because they can do anything.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I am a hard working person and it has landed me into problems but I have to survive; I have been admitted several times because of stress and fatigue.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Corruption; I hate corrupt people and in so doing I have ended up stepping on so many people’s toes. I have been exposed in the media for beating people and fighting on a plane but nothing has been written about me being corrupt so I am happy about it.

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