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Growing up as a poor village boy anchored my life

By Agnes E. Nantaba

Dr. Fred Kakongoro Muhumuza is an expert economist on policy on research currently working with Financial Sector Deepening (FSD). He spoke to Agnes E. Nantaba

Any three things we don’t know about you?

I was born in Hoima during Obote I and take pride in growing up as a village boy because it helped me anchor my life. I studied in schools that people would struggle to find on a Google map.

My father was a reverend. I am married to Stella Muhumuza. Although I had previously wanted to have two children, I gave in to her wish to have one more.

I have ever worked as a house boy for some Christian missionaries from which I raised my pocket money for university. I am one of the pioneer Research Fellows at Economic Policy research Centre (EPRC).

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

The word perfect does not fit me because I work within intervals; close to perfect comes when you hit within the intervals you set.

What is your greatest fear?

Life has thrown me against the seas and the rocks so my greatest fear would come from the things that are not within my control and yet they affect me.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I haven’t been aggressive enough because I grew up in a Christian setting where we believe that God takes care of all the things.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

I don’t tolerate unfair people or those who want to take advantage of others.

Which living person do you most admire?

In a recent generation, President Barack Obama has provided a different way of thinking about life.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My greatest extravagance is apparently not on me nor is it on my family. It is rather on the needy people whom I don’t have to know and whose reward cannot be valued.

What is your current state of mind?

I am quite busy because I like it that away; I want to do a perfect job.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Wealth. Most people who steal are not even poor.

On what occasion do you lie?

I may not exactly tell the truth nor tell the outright lie so I would quantify my lies in the grey area.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

While growing up, I didn’t like being a short boy but  I am  happy the way I was created.

Which living person do you most despise?

I despise anybody who oppresses the less privileged.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

I cherish a man who doesn’t behave like a man but uses his position for the benefit of others

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

A woman should be confident enough not to change fundamental things about herself.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Many times I use phrases like ‘Are you okay, ‘God bless you’.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My children come in ahead of everybody.

When and where were you happiest?

I was happy passing my O-level in division one and getting to university.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Two things; one is swimming but at this age I am afraid of people finding me struggling to learn how to swim. The other is playing the key board .

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

At this age, the space maybe bigger than my ability.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Living to this age having been born and living through times when death was just around the corner.

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

I still want to come back as Fred Muhumuza.

Where would you most like to live?

Uganda is still a good place to live but specifically in Fort Portal and Bunyoro areas .

What is your most treasured possession?

The greatest I have is the knowledge of Christ.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Losing a loved one for a reason that could be prevented cheaply and easily.

What is your favorite occupation?

I love practicing economics .

What is your most marked characteristic?

Making and keeping friends

What do you most value in your friends?

They should be real, down to earth and not selfish.

Who are your favorite writers?

Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong’o. I love the way they tell the African story .

Who is your hero of fiction?

The writers of Mills and Boon

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi for their positive approach towards life.

Who are your heroes in real life?

People who hold humanity above self.

What are your favorite names?

My pet name Atwoki; I made sure it gets to my passport.

How would you like to die?

Peacefully in my sleep .

What is your motto?

Stay focused living by the grace of God

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