By Joan Akello
Dr. Martin Jerome Okech Aliker, retired dental surgeon talked to The Independent’s Joan Akello about golf and family
What do we not know about you?
That I cry very easily, especially when I see people suffering and my close relationship with my mother. I can’t eat or drink by myself except on a flight. I’m a frustrated writer though I’ve started writing my biography. My wife has never asked for money. What we have, she has access. I’m attracted to beautiful women and a father of twins.
What is your favourite sport?
Golf. Tiger Woods is my favorite tee person and I love watching Arsenal play but I’m not a football fanatic.
Any in Uganda?
These are jokers because golf is a discipline.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Since Adam and Eve, there is no perfect marriage. Mine issuccessful but I can’t say I satisfy her.
What is your greatest fear?
God has been so kind and good, and given me everything and sometimes I think He’s going to get tired. I say God I don’t want anymore, let me keep what you’ve given me.
What is the worst job in Uganda?
Being comptroller of State House; the President does not understand money.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I’m too time conscious; the President and I are good friends but we are not as far as keeping time is concerned.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Lies and lateness; all of us have got things to do.
What is your greatest extravagance?’
First class travel, expensive wine, and a cigar once in a while with my friends.
What do you consider the most overrated?
Buying cars; I have a Mercedes and Pajero, my wife has a Polo for shopping. Someone bought a Range Rover for $110,000. I’m not going to pay for that. I don’t need a luxury car.
On what occasion do you lie?
If it means saving somebody.
How have you handled political life?
Museveni invited me and made me a minister. I never stood for election. I don’t have politics in my blood. When you are a politician you don’t have time to yourself, you have people all around you. I want my friends to be around me. I don’t enjoy politics.
What about as minister of internal affairs?
I was a very successful minister; I restored the relationship between Uganda and Sudan, between the UK and Uganda. I enjoyed it because it was easy for me. If I was put in Agriculture or Local Government I’m sure I wouldn’t have like it.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
By the time I discover your brain, I have already liked your body. I go for the transport, sitting arrangement, and dairy product.
What would you change about yourself?
Play more sports and enjoy life more than I did. But if I did I wouldn’t have achieved.
What are your greatest achievements?
Being honoured by Makerere University to give a lecture one and half years ago.My four children are all educated; there is no alcohol, homosexuality or drugs. That is the best.
How do you perceive homosexuality?
I sympathise because I know medically there are those who are born and cannot help it. I don’t like those who have acquired the habit and want other people to become part of it. As minister of Foreign Affairs I wrote a letter for a 29-year old female to leave the country because the environment here was harsh.
If you were to die and come back, what would you be?
As a male human being and pursue my frustration which is to be a writer.
What is your favourite occupation?
Playing golf and sitting on boards.
What is your most treasured possession?
I’m a watch collector; I’ve 19 from the top brands though there are watches which are too good to be worn every day.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
If you don’t have family, you don’t deserve to live because living is giving. No matter how much money you have.
Who are your favorite writers?
Those of classics like Charles Dickens’s `A Tale of two cities’. John Grisham. I hate vulgarity or writing with foul words.
What are your favourite movies?
I love war movies like “The Bridge on the River Kwai”, “The Guns of Navarone” and Western Cowboy. I hate squawky movies, hiding in the trees or in the dark and stabbing someone. I’m an Acholi if you’re going to fight, come out in the open.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Nelson Mandela; he did all the wrong things. He abandoned his family to fight for a cause, he was incarcerated for 27 years and he gets out and forgives his tormentors, he is elected president and he serves one term, the he does not organise for his wife or son to takeover, does not accumulate a lot of wealth which he could have done. That is why Mandela is special; he did not do what other African leaders do or are doing.
What is your motto?
Above all, unto thyself be true.
How do you want to be remembered?
Here lies a man who tried.
You are Anglican, but what is your view about religion?
I have read enough to disillusion me that everything in the Bible was written long after Jesus. Nothing is straight from God but human understanding of what is good. I believe in God, and where possible, people should marry from the same religion.