By Denis K. Mukasa
Dear Gawaya Tegulle,
After reading your article published in the Monitor of 10/10/2020 under the heading “Mayombo & Gen Muhoozi… ‘pretty boy’ faces of a brutal military outfit”, I was left with a vague but real sense of foreboding and dread without knowing exactly what the source of my trepidation was. Then I got to thinking: could it be that this was exactly the kind of reaction the author meant to leave the reader in, soaking in an icy cesspool of nebulous terrors? Which reminded me of a genius of the 20th century called Alfred Hitchcock. In his horror movies, his style was not to show a clear view of some slimy long-fanged cavernous mouth of a monster, as other directors were wont to do. Instead, as the beast crept towards its victim, Hitchcock showed a vague shadow of it. Then with a crashing crescendo of the most terrifying mood music, the viewer was treated to a view of its victim’s face on which was an expression of indescribable horror at what he/she was seeing coming at him/her. After which the shadows, of monster and victim, would merge violently with a horrifying squelching sound as “the thing” summarily devoured its victim, blood splattering onto distant walls!
Amazingly, although the viewer was never shown what “the thing” actually looked like, a Hitchcock film was always a blood-curdling experience. A film-making genius that he was, Hitchcock left the nature of the beast to the imagination of the viewer whom he in effect primed to frighten himself/herself.
Likewise, you left my imagination running riot!
For example, what happened to poor Michael Ogwang? Yes, the very same Ogwang for whose release you fought tooth and nail, only to forget him completely when you went off to Europe? (Kind of reminds me, in my imagination, how those CMI types you castigate might completely forget about one of their prisoners deep in the bowels of their wicked establishments while they go on a world tour. A rather poor show, I thought!) Anyway, when somebody did remind you of the poor sod eventually, did you find him alive, and in what shape? You mentioned his plight to us; please do not leave us hanging, Hitchcock style.
Then there is the matter of Fidel Gatsinzi whose release you say you valiantly fought for and whom you eventually got to see at the Katuna border point. You tell us: “When I saw what had been done to him, I returned homesick, depressed and horrified”. And right there, up go the hairs at the back of my neck, and the breath catches in my throat! JESUS!!! Was one side of his face heaving with maggots? Were the contents of his intestines oozing out of his side? Without details, we have to fill in the gaps as horribly as we fancy, with whatever makes our skin crawl the most. Again, pure Hitchcock!
And there is the matter of Brig General “pretty boy” Mayombo whom you say “was very intelligent, humorous, outgoing and handsome”, but who was “heading a CMI that was at the time being accused [GASP! By the Nameless Ones!] of using unthinkable methods of torture [manifestly different from the merely horrible?] even Lucifer himself would find extremely repulsive!” YIKES!! The mind boggles!
And what’s “the whisky and walking off with the microphone story” for? Are we to take it that Mayombo was always drunk, or is that merely my imagination running off with me again? Oh, I get it! The imagination has clicked. That is how he managed to perform the heinous tortures; he had to gather Dutch courage first! OMG!!! I need the bathroom.
You say, “It was hard not to like Mayombo”. Well, it seems to me you did put some serious effort into it, and had a fair amount of success too. Why else would you tell such stories of no clear significance about a man who is not here to defend himself?
And then there is the matter of the CDF “a pretty boy too” as you say, whom you met to serve with a court order, even though you are thoroughly persuaded that “his army has no regard for the rule of law”. (Was that not a waste of time?) So tell me, did he agree to receive the court order? Or did he, as I can readily imagine, throw you into one of his dungeons after which he had his lunch to the music of your screams? You do not tell us, leaving us to shudder in our imaginings!
You say you were taken aback by his good looks and his polite demeanor. I can imagine how you were shaking in your boots as he spoke to you, knowing as you did the full litany of his sins that you enumerate for us. But what has all this got to do with his, and Mayombo’s, good looks? Aaah! I get it: there is a correlation between good looks and “being bad”. The better they look, the worse they really are! (Nice touch by the way; “Members of his tribe can be really handsome. . .” Look out for them!) Superb Hitchcock.
Now, now Gawaya, do we really want to go down that line of thinking? Some might say you are quite good looking yourself, which would make one wonder what inky darkness lies at the core of your soul. I don’t want to imagine!
Is it possible for you to tell us your stories straight, with facts, with relevant principles and conclusions, so that we can consider them and learn something from you, instead of leaving us seeing formless monsters everywhere? Just suggesting!
The writer is an educationist