Contrary to rumors, Frank Gashumba has only one child

FRANK GASHUMBA'S is no different from the corporate offices you see in the movies; the burgundy wallpaper is a feast for the eyes, not to mention the extremely hospitable receptionist who led me to the conference room where I was to interview Gashumba.

While I waited, [PLU] came to me. One of them was shaking and said he would be scolded for bringing ten people when he was only supposed to bring five.

Gashumba is the PLU's vice-chairman for the Central Region, as well as a businessman, social critic and father of socialite Sheila Gashumba.

[As the interview starts:]

First of all, I would like to thank you for this opportunity. Tell me what your earliest childhood memory is.

[A flash of happiness envelops his face]

Hmm, what is it called in Luganda? Gogolo. Do you know it? [Quick Talk answers in the affirmative: Gogolo is skidding downhill]Imagine pouring water on the small hill, sitting on a banana trunk and whizzIt goes downhill. At times there were three or four of us sitting on the porch. Beautiful!

And when we went home, they beat us because [gogolo inevitably meant torn and dirty clothes. Again.]

How old are you?

I am 50 [Gashumba was born December 3, 1974 in Villa Maria, Masaka]

Why are you a single father when you could have any woman you want?

Hehehehe … You see, you have to be very careful with someone you are going to marry. This is someone you see every morning. This is someone you see before you go to bed.

And personally, I think I would rather live a happy single life than a properly married [but unhappy] Life. I know many friends who are married, but believe me, they [spiritually] divorced 20 years ago. Outwardly they are a couple, but in private they have separated. In fact, there are many single mothers in marriages. Do you understand what I mean?

Yes, I do. How many children do you have?

I have one [Sheila Gashumba].

Quick Talk always heard there were others! Are you happy with just one?

We are back to the practical exercises; we will get more! [He laughs loudly].

Who had the biggest influence on you growing up?

My grandmother, Sarafina Mukandanga. She is here [he shows Quick Talk a framed picture on his table.] They walked from Rwanda to Uganda [Gashumba is a co-founder of the Council for Abavandimwe – Ugandans who are descendants of Rwandan immigrants.]

Speaking of walking from Rwanda to Uganda, have you ever longed to settle in the land of your ancestors? Great things are happening there!

No, I don't miss Rwanda because I never lived there. Even my parents never lived in Rwanda. I see Rwanda as a friendly homeland. I love Rwanda, I support Rwanda. That's why you see the picture of President Paul Kagame here. But I feel comfortable as a Ugandan.

I understand you. Do you have pets?

Yes, I have dogs. I used to have cats too, but the dogs I have are too wild. They were killed. I have a German Shepherd, a Japanese Spitz and a Maltese.

What was the happiest day you can remember?

The day I spend time with children. I am happiest when I am with children, especially babies – kindergarten children. [There is a knock
at the door. A pastor, whom I had found in a meeting with Gashumba, enters to pick up a phone he had forgotten. He leaves after praying for Gashumba.]

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Actually, I wanted to become a priest. [seeing Quick Talk’s stunned look…]

Yes! I was kicked out of a seminary. I was there for two days.

Two days. Why did you want to become a priest?

That was my calling, but I think God realized he couldn't use me there and threw me out.

What were your parents like?

My mother still lives in Masaka. If there is a true Christian in Masaka, she is the pinnacle of Christianity in my opinion. I have never met such a kind person as her in my life. My father died in 2019 and he was the toughest man. I don't remember ever experiencing love from him. He was always rough.

Do you believe in life after death?

No. I think when you die, it's over.

Tell me about Sheila's birth. What was going through your mind when your partner was in labor?

Yes, that was my first experience. First of all, Sheila was born at Nsambya Hospital. But I was on the premises; there was no way I could go into the delivery room. Errr, no. I can't watch a woman give birth to a baby.

Why? It is even encouraged

No, I can't. So I stayed outside the hospital the whole time. When she was born, life began. A beautiful life.

On a different topic, what made you decide to join PLU?

We need to create a better country. We need to see a smooth transition of power. And General MK [Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the CDF and son to President Museveni] has all login information.

He has attended all military academies and universities and served in the military. I am confident that he can ensure our security and that of our property in this country.

Does joining the PLU mean that you are moving into government?

No, actually people often confuse the two. As much as I support General MK, I am not a supporter of the NRM.

I mean, is this your foray into politics? Perhaps one day as a member of parliament?

No. I don't think I can ever be a Member of Parliament. First of all, politics has become so stale that voters no longer want people who can do things; they want people who go to funerals and so on. I am a fertile seed; a fertile seed cannot germinate in the desert.

Which football club do you support?

Sports club Villa.

And internationally?

None. Even if you gave me a billion, I couldn't name two players from these clubs.

How would you describe yourself?

I know what I want. I am very focused.

And how do you think your friends would describe you?

They say I'm tough.

What advice would you give to young people who want to be as successful as you?

They should be focused, seek advice when needed, and find mentors. And they should not skip a step. They should never skip a step.

How do you find a good mentor?

You need to find someone you look up to. When you find someone you admire, find a way to get closer to him/her.

What was the best decision you ever made?

I don't go into politics. I don't participate in electoral politics.

What is something you really want to share with the public?

I wish they knew that politicians don't care about them [he shakes his head.] You are a user.

Have you always been successful?

I don't know who determines who is successful. I'm not a billionaire, but I live a pretty good life. That's success. I live a good life. I thank God. [As Quick Talk starts to ask about Sheila, Gashumba ends the interview in a definite indicator that this is a no-go zone.]

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