After nine years as the manager, Communications, Public and Corporate Affairs at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Peter Kaujju resigned from this job on June 30 and he has since joined electricity distributor Umeme for a similar position. Quick Talk caught up with him at his new office, which was being refurbished as we chatted.
Congratulations on your new job!
Thank you! This is actually my third day [July 3] in office.
Just for clarity, was your contract expired and not getting renewed, or did something better just come your way?
At KCCA I was a permanent staff and I was not on contract; so, it was still running but as per public service orders, I had to give notice of my resignation 30 days before and on June 30, I worked my last day at KCCA and on July 1, I reported to my new employer, Umeme.
How is it, so far?
I am still learning. I am still being introduced to the people and taken to different places, but they have been very welcoming and I’m excited and ready to begin work. I believe I will generate ideas to build a better brand.
Great! Tell me about yourself, Peter
I come from a very humble background. I am the second-last born of eight children; five girls and three boys. I was born in Budaka district to Alupa Mugalanzi, a public servant, and Victoria Nawula, a nurse. Unfortunately, they are both deceased. I went to Jami primary school, then to Bukedi College Kachonga for O-level and Kajjansi Progressive SS for A-level. I [then] went to Makerere University for a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. [Wow. Quite the journey!]
You seem so serious, were you a quiet and serious child too?
[Laughs] I was a very outgoing child. I used to like exploring and trying out new things and this would get me in trouble with my older siblings. My mother was also a serious disciplinarian because she was a former Catholic nun; so, that iron hand made us very disciplined.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
Being among many girls, I picked a lot of skills from them especially cooking. I would prepare matoke, posho, kalo [millet bread] and other foods very well. My mum would always feel proud whenever she came back from hospital and be told I was the one who cooked.
Impressive… Do you still cook?
Yeah, I still cook when I get time and my favourite and easiest dish is rice and chicken or beef.
What don’t Kampalans know about you?
I am an introvert. I like to be quiet and enjoy my space [hmm. Good luck on that in public relations.] Unfortunately, maybe I studied the wrong course because the job that I do demands that you are out there and speaking to people. I still try my best to keep to myself, especially when I feel it is not necessary to speak.
Moving on; have you congratulated Joel Ssenyonyi yet? He has really validated male chastity, don’t you think? [Ssenyonyi married recently at 32 years. He claimed was a virgin.]
Joel’s story is very interesting and he is a very good friend of mine. I think life is a very interesting journey and it is what you make it. You prepare yourself and set out your journey and you should have direction on where you want to go. If you want to be a responsible person, you have to invest in it by not wasting yourself, manage your company and prepare yourself.
Are you married?
I have a family. There is a woman in my life and a daughter and I am planning to make it official before this year ends.
Great! So, how did you meet the bride-to-be?
Haaaa… [bursts into laughter]. We met at St Francis chapel, Makerere. I was in the drama group of the church while I was still at the university. We met there and have carried on as friends since then.
And how do you unwind?
These days I hardly have free time to the extent that even on days I should have been on leave I would still work; but in my free time I read books, especially about Economics. I also like to read leisure books.
I am also a sportsperson. I used to do a lot of sports in school. I would play football, volleyball, table tennis and scrabble. The only thing I have failed to learn is chess. So, once in a while I go out and play.
Which teams do you support?
Internationally I am a Liverpool fan; so, you should congratulate me upon winning the Premier League this season [Quick Talk obliges. Will we ever hear enough about Liverpool’s rare win!] Locally I have been supporting KCCA and it is where I still belong until we realise the dream of setting up Umeme FC.
I like how quickly the loyalty has shifted! And what book are you reading currently?
The most recent one I have read is Uganda’s Poorly Kept Secrets by Charles Onyango Obbo. It is very interesting and I have read it over and over.
Do you have any pets? You look like a person who loves dogs.
I like to keep things like chicken, cows and goats. [Okay…one of those who only keep ‘edible pets’…] I have had a very rough time with dogs including my own biting me twice at home. So, I keep them at a distance and only have them for security purposes.
Local music or foreign; what is your preference?
Of course local music comes first and my favourite of all time is the late Prince Paul Job Kafeero. I listen to his music a lot; in my car and house because I find a lot of meaning in it. Among the current generation, I like Bebe Cool and Jose Chameleone. I also love to listen to Tasha Cobbs and Mercy Chinwo when I am ‘in the spirit’.
What takes up the biggest space in your wardrobe?
Honestly growing up I really loved my casual outfits; so, you would find me in jeans, T-shirts and big jungle boots, but because of the nature of my job, you will find more suits and khakis than jeans, though I still have them. You will also find some tracksuits and sneakers, especially for weekends, but it is mostly suits and ties – although I don’t know how to tie a tie.
[Laughing] Yeah. Honestly, I cannot tie a tie. I still have to rely on some people to do it for me, like colleagues at work. But I am trying to learn, it is one of the few things I still cannot do on my own.
Where would you go for a vacation? East African safari park or Dubai?
Definitely the park and I have actually been to Kidepo, Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls. I love wildlife and vegetation, because just that look alone rejuvenates and gives me a fresh mind. I would go to any of the parks.
What was your most memorable moment as KCCA spokesperson?
There are very many, but I will pick two scenarios about getting back KCCA property. The first one was when we went to get our property which had been occupied by a certain army general and it felt good seeing the soldiers pack up their bags, guns and leave. Another one was also getting the KCCA property which had been occupied by the former mayor, but my most recent memorable moment was getting the children off the streets during this Covid-19 period.
And the worst moment?
Confrontations with politicians. There are times when you had to stand against them because they were telling lies and they would say I did not like them, but I did like them only that I had to tell the truth where they were telling lies.
What would you tell the person who will be replacing you at KCCA?
Oh wow! I wish them well. I made some recommendations though, because I built a good team, but whether they pick from the team or not, the decision is theirs. I will be available in case they need any advice.