If this column did not appear last week, it is not that I was negligent, nor was it the fault of the editor. I had dashed back to Mfashumwana (alias / a.k.a. Kyererezi) village.
As you may have read in some of my past columns, some ‘ba contra success’ have decided to do away with Mfashumwana the village and rename it.
After having spent sometime without visiting the old folks in my birth place, I was feeling some how nostalgic and so this, coupled with the bad news that some people wanted to steal my village, I decided to put on my shoes and head for the same, with the intention of taking stock of whatever may have or may have not changed in those six or so years I have been away.
I set off on a cold morning and headed straight for the Nyabugogo Taxi Park for the Jaguar bus heading for Kampala. I chose this particular means not because its fares are pocket friendly. Who would dare drive a distance of more than a thousand miles when the petrol prices are threatening to hit the thousand francs mark?
My itinerary was clearly marked. I would disembark at the town of Mbarara, change to the vehicles heading west to Fort Portal via Bushenyi and Kasese.
The bus trip from Kigali to Gatuna / Katuna was quite uneventful. By 8.30 a.m. we were already relaxing on the Ugandan side of the border; it was a matter of minutes before we set off again.
I was amazed by the amount of rain and the accompanying vegetation on the other side compared to our erratic rains way back in Kigali.
We reached Mbarara at around tenish or so and I disembarked at the Total petrol station, just near the Mbarara main Rond Point. I boarded a Kalita coach heading for Kabarole via Kasese.
Kasese is a very interesting small town lying at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon. This mountain range was popularly so known by the whites because on a clear night the snow cap of the mountain reflected the moon shine such that one would be tempted to think that the moon had landed on top of the mountain!
As the bus was cruising through the land of Twariire (we have eaten), as Bushenyi is popularly known, many memories came to mind: The UPC orchestrated evictions of the Banyarwanda from their land, courtesy of Major Edward Rurangaranga, and Dr. Apollo Milton Obote when he first landed on his way back from his exile in Tanzanina.
All this seemed like yesterday. Still fascinating were the crater lakes of Bunyaruguru, the road snaked round Lake Rutoto and as if trying to escape from the deadly crater lake, it drops down to the Queen Elizabeth National Park and disappears into the African Savannah grassland.
Soon after crossing the Kazinga Channel (Katunguru), the road in the Queen Elizabeth National Park has been repaired, it is like driving on a black carpet. Fort Portal is still as sleepy as before, but I was very disappointed.
Only a decade ago, the town of Fort Portal was a clean place, not any more; all the roads are half tarmac and half pot holes.