No tomato sauce blood or blanks, Ugawood is coming, guns blazing

Monday February 11 2019

General Kasirye Gwanga

The other day General Kasirye Gwanga sent someone to bring him his gun – a real gun with real bullets – and shot out the tyre of a female musician’s car whose occupants were playing loud music. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGA | NMG 

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A great reality film industry is around the corner in Uganda.

We may not have the original traditions of Hollywood, nor the long-established Bollywood culture, nor even daring of Nollywood and the addictiveness of those Latino soaps that never seem to be complete unless there is a dashing young man called Alejandro. But we have a great advantage – our movie industry will feature real-life action. For our life is stranger and more exciting than fiction.

And we are rolling soon, for we cannot afford to continue wasting talent and resources.

For instance we have this recently discharged military artillery officer – Major General Kasirye Gwanga.

The other day he sent someone to bring him his gun – a real gun with real bullets – and shot out the tyre of a female musician’s car whose occupants were playing loud music. The environment-loving general disapproved of noise pollution, so he fired at the car, the noise pollution of the shot notwithstanding.

He later explained that he disabled the car because its occupants were drunk and if left to continue, they could crash and die, so he saved their lives.

That furthermore, the tyres were the cheap type second-hand cars come with from Japan – a negligible loss. This happened in the capital city. Then he said his son had been threatened by the singer’s bodyguards.

Film makers should sign up the retired general quickly as his CV speaks for itself.

Only a year ago, he got a can of petrol and burnt a grader/tractor that was grading a plot of land that he said belonged to his daughter. The machine’s operator fled for his life when the armed general showed up. This was on the outskirts of the capital city.

General Gwanga’s other exploits also make for exciting action drama. He has shot car robbers dead in the city, been himself shot and injured while sitting in a parked car talking to an undisclosed person – undisclosed to date, two decades after the incident happened.

He has fired rounds in the air to silence loud Born Again Christians praying near his residence, slapped traffic police. He has done so many things that some stories of his exploits are hard to believe.

And that is just one of our potential movie stars. And please don’t call them actors because they don’t act – they do. They don’t fire blanks; they fire live bullets, at actual people.

The political opposition together with the security agencies themselves can also earn us some good money in the movie industry, the way they act – sorry - the way they do. This would offset some of the expenses incurred by the taxpayers for their operations, training and welfare.

Forget the hour-long physical fight security and MPs had inside the national parliament as they debated a constitutional amendment.

The injuries sustained by the opposition MPs were real, not the tomato sauce other movie makers use to show blood. The hospitals they go to for surgical reconstruction would also pay us some revenue for appearing in our movies.

The Nigerian witchdoctor actors better step aside. In Uganda, witchdoctors drag politicians to court over unpaid bills for luck administered that brought electoral victories and plum job appointments.

Already an action movie industry of the staged variety is burgeoning in Wakaliga near Kampala and attracting global attention.

But when you stand near a big tree, you may not notice it, or the forest it stands in. So we hanker after a movie industry as big as Nollywood and as famous as Hollywood, unaware we are living in one.

Joachim Buwembo is a social and political commentator based in Kampala.