The first thing bound to catch your eye upon seeing KENNETH ESIANGU EITUNGANANE is his smartness in well-pressed suits and statement shoes.
He is the MP for Soroti County. The calm father of four had a chat with Quick Talk recently at parliament.
Your name is quite hard to pronounce, Honorable…
[Laughs] No. My name is very easy to pronounce. The problem could be the effect of the Matooke [eaters]; so, when they try to pronounce my name it is too heavy for them.
So what is the right pronunciation?
My first name is Eitunganane [It rolls off his tongue so easily] If you translate it to Luganda, it means [in fluent Luganda:] omuntu w’abantu (A people’s person) and the other one Esiangu, in our language, means kindness; and my Christian name is Kenneth.
Such meaningful names. Don’t you think they greatly contributed to your political success?
Yes, of course. Especially Eitunganane. It was more of a catchy phrase for my supporters. And even then, I had always kept close ties with them and I had done quite a number of things for them before I even contested. I was so endeared to them and my name just summed it all up.
What is your profession?
I am a microfinance expert and I am also into fisheries. But fisheries was the first.
Tell me about your childhood.
I grew up in a very humble polygamous family. My father was a very strict man. He was a civil servant and he moved with us to wherever he was transferred. My mum, who incidentally was his first wife, could not keep up with the movements.
So, I am told, she requested that my dad gets another wife who could move with him and she opted to go back to the village and tend to the matrimonial family home that we could go back to in holidays [if that story is true, your mum deserves a medal for courage, honorable.]
Was growing up with a stepmother as bad as they say it is?
A polygamous home can be a breeding place for hostility, especially if the family head is not principled. But the good thing my father was a lawyer.
So, he knew how to instill order in the home. Although the family was polygamous, it was a united family with no segregation among children and stepmothers. This helped us grow into a strong united family.
So, based on that experience, would you marry more than one wife?
No. I am comfortable with one wife.
Whew! Tell me more about your wife.
[Looks at his shoes while speaking rather shyly…] My wife comes from Buganda. She is called Namuli Goretti. We have been together since our school days. When I was doing my diploma in fisheries is when I met her.
We dated for three years before we started a family. We started living together even before we got jobs, but somehow, we managed and here we are.
Do you have any children?
Yes, we have four children and we intend to stop there. The first three are girls and the boy is the youngest. He is four years now and in nursery. I don’t want my wife to age with the burden of having so many children.
How do you spend your free time, Honorable?
Do I really have any free time? When I do get a free moment, I would rather spend it at home with my wife and children.
I don’t drink and I don’t go out, but normally when my eldest daughter who is in Mt St Mary’s College Namagunga comes back for holidays, we welcome her back with a family dinner somewhere outside home.
Now that we are talking about food, can you cook?
My mother is a very good cook and she taught us how to cook. I can cook a good number of local dishes and many other things.
I cannot stay hungry because there is no woman to cook food. Even now when my wife is not at home, you will find me in the kitchen fixing meals for the children. They enjoy my food and they say I also know how to cook.
Honorable with a difference! Are you afraid of snakes?
No. Even if I saw one here, I wouldn’t run. But I fear a caterpillar more than a snake.
What? That is strange
I know it sounds strange, but its true. You see, as a young boy, I used to look after cattle; so, I would always see snakes in the bush. And for a snake to attack you, you have to scare it first but for a caterpillar, it just invades you and before you know it, it is on your body.
Okay…And what kind of music do you listen to?
Country music and church music.
Which schools did you attend?
An array of them because of my father’s transfers but I completed my primary seven at Alem primary school in Kaberamaido and then I went to Kaberamaido SS and completed my O-level at Kalaki SS before I went to Bukedi College Kachonga in Mbale for my A-level.
I did my first diploma at Fisheries Training Institute in Entebbe. I went to Nkozi University for a diploma in Microfinance, I went back for a degree in Microfinance still and finally a Masters degree in development studies [an inspiring journey!]
That’s quite a good CV. Do you think you are equally romantic?
[Surprised and amused:] I think I am poor at it. Maybe my wife can answer that.
Hahaa! Why does every man keep referring me to his wife on the romantic thing. Please speak for yourself…
You know a relationship is usually between two people and someone who has been close to me for the last 19 years can really answer that better than myself.
No further questions Honorable. I rest my case.