At Makerere University’s 70th graduation ceremony last week, Dr Hamzah Sebunya, the husband to singer Rema Namakula, was among the notable graduands. Sebunya is the hero [to many women] and villain [to many men], who last year replaced Eddy Kenzo as Rema’s man.
He was awarded a degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. Quick Talk caught up with him at Freedom Square on November 14, 2020, and he gave his first media interview.
Oh, thank you!
Do you mind talking to me briefly?
Uhmm…… about what?
Like…when did you get your gown? [Makerere has been rocked by a graduation gowns shortage this year, due to supplier issues.]
I think I was among the first people to collect my gown.
Lucky! Who designed your outfit? [He is stylishly dressed in a dark blue suit and black shoes]
Banange…I have a wife and she did that. I have designers, but my wife is at the helm of it.
Graduands cheered loudly as you took your seat [When Hamzah walked into the grounds, Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda had to pause his speech for a few minutes due to unending ululations.]
They were just happy to see me. I am a social person and the excitement explained my personality.
How do you feel now that you are a doctor?
Well…. I am delighted. I am really so happy and thank the Almighty for this day. I know my achievement today is not only going to help my family, but the world at large. I encourage each one of us to go back to school whenever you get the opportunity.
It’s always a good feeling, but don’t study for the sake of doing it; go to school with focus and vision. Some of us have been so busy but we persevered. I thank everyone who encouraged and supported me through this journey.
When did you join Makerere?
I joined five years ago. I also want to thank the government because I have been on government sponsorship. It has been a challenging journey, but I made it. Despite my busy schedule, studies have been priority. Already, I have got a scholarship abroad to study again and I don’t want to disclose it now but you will know about it soon.
Critics are still in disbelief that you were really in medical school.
I know they are saying so, but you can’t get here [graduation day] without studying. Let them think what they want.
Who accompanied you today?
[Wearing a big smile:] I came with my wife. She is over there with my sister, mum and uncle.
But aren’t cards restricted to two people?
I know… I was privileged to be issued two VIP cards by the university. The honour goes back to the Lord for such recognition.
Anti you’re now a celebrity…
I don’t know about that. I think I was just honoured.
What next after this degree?
I am already in service at Naguru hospital, but I am soon opening up a medical facility. Small as it may be, it will be a great contribution to my country. It will serve women and children. It is still work in progress and when it matures, you will definitely see it.
At Naguru hospital, what do you do?
I am a general doctor, but I will soon join the gynaecology department.
I read that you were a gynecologist.
Just know I have not been in that department. I didn’t respond to any rumors then, and I have made my submission to you, thank you!
This limelight; how is the media?
Some have been fair and others unfair to me.
What were the most annoying moments with the media?
They publish what they want instead of looking for news. To my family, they go overboard and cross the line. We need some privacy. I need time for my family and they need me too. I am a very reserved person and too busy to respond to some comments. I leave everything to God.
How would you like it to be different?
Try as much as possible to double-check your information before publishing it. Please minimize defaming people and tarnishing their names. Most people go through turmoil to [make a] name and we have people who look up to us. It may go cool with me, but you will find someone who will not let you go.
Moving on; take me through your day’s activities.
I have to be at Naguru hospital, then my office for meetings because I have various projects. I have a company – Akron Diagnostics and Laboratory Supplies Limited – that deals in medical equipment and diagnostic consumables. [A Google check shows the company is located on London Chambers along Johnson Street]. I am the CEO of the company.
Wow. Now, hope I am not crossing a line, but how is Rema Namakula, the wife, not Rema the artiste?
She is amazing. She is a very good wife and mother.
Good mother? You don’t have children together…
She is a mother. We have children at home; Aamal [the daughter Rema shares with Kenzo] and other kids. So, she is looking after them [and me] very well.
And what kind of husband are you?
I think this question should be directed to my wife. [He points to the tent where Rema is seated]. But I fulfill [my duties] as a husband. I am a responsible man.
Do you engage in any house chores?
Eh, we have a schedule we follow. At times, I help her especially when we are free on Sunday. I love cooking pilao with her, and ummm…I guess chicken.
You must be a bad cook…why the hesitation there?
Hahahahaha…. No, I really cook when I get time for the kitchen.
Rema aside, who are your best female and male artistes?
Irene Namatovu, and for males…all artistes are good. I have so many and can’t choose one. [Hahaha…Quick Talk actually hoped he would say Eddy Kenzo.]
What is your favourite song by Rema…
All her songs are good, but Akaliro [released in 2016] is my favourite.
At your kwanjula last year, businessman Godfrey Kirumira said Rema has only five more years in the music industry and later concentrate on her marriage.
I think life will tell, because in the end, she also has priorities. She can even choose to quit music today and no one would stop her. For now, she is entertaining the country and the fans should expect the best. On Valentine’s day, she has a concert at Hotel Africana and definitely, I must attend.
Your wife is so reserved…
…That’s why I chose her [he responds before Quick Talk can complete the question]. She is reserved, decent and a responsible wife. I love her so much.
Any plans for Hajj [the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca]?
Definitely! That’s on plan.
Critics say you are not on good terms with Kenzo.
I have not heard about that; I don’t have any enemies.
Last December Kenzo said he is not given access to his daughter.
I think you have got enough information from me. Thank you for the interview. I think I have been kind enough to talk to you. [The look on his face says the interview must end. He also reminds me about the graduation ceremony he was keenly following before the interview.]
Okay…. your message to fellow graduands.
I congratulate each one of them. I implore them to go out there and act as learned persons. Don’t be a disgrace to the nation and our noble profession. Fellow doctors, have some contribution to health care delivery.
For instance, if you come from Masaka, have some contribution to people in your communities regardless of where you are employed. We should also keep safe because HIV is all over. If you are HIV-positive, please adhere to your treatment.