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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Exposing the idiocy of politics of the belly

Title: The Honourable MP Who Resigned
Author: Godfrey Mwene Kalimugogo
Reviewer: Dennis D. Muhumuza

Hardly a year after he released Bury me In A Simple Grave (2009), Godfrey Mwene Kalimugogo is back with a new novel that is guaranteed to ruffle some feathers in the corridors of our parliament. The Honourable MP Who Resigned is a 173-page account of a man who resigns from parliament and is locked in the toilet of his house by his wife and a local priest, the only “ransom” being that he withdraws his resignation letter in exchange for his liberty.

They argue that his intention to resign is an inexcusable betrayal of the trust the people of Muhiga Constituency put in him. But the reader cannot be duped; it’s clear that Ediosa, the MP’s wife, is the most egocentric woman one could ever meet. As she confesses, “I am not the type of woman who, when she passes by, little women should giggle and pinch each other, saying, ‘There is the wife of the former MP.” So when she conspires with the crazy priest, Benon Baguma, they become a deadly combination.

Even more, natives of the locale begin to question the sanity of the protagonist, for they cannot understand how a sane man can throw away “such a juicy package” as being an MP, a position of honour that they believe everybody would kill for!

But Medard Mugisha is fed up with the madness of the politics of the August House, which has become a den that inhibits the “custodians of greed, opportunism and corruption…a formidable obstacle to any change that may threaten the status quo.”

As he tells the narrator, parliament has lost its virility and is now there to “rubber-stamp ready-made decisions” of authorities that be. In biting satire, Kalimugogo exposes the idiocy of our MPs and their politics of the belly, the deceit of the people that are supposed to be the most close to us (in this case the wife of the MP betraying her husband) and the hypocrisy of the men of the cloth. Also, the mission to rescue the poor MP exposes the incompetence and recklessness of the armed forces.

The madness of Ugandan politics today is recreated in this hilarious novel. It also brings to mind the hullabaloo created by the resignation of Mbale Municipality MP Wilfred Kajeke in July 2009. The book is available in bookstores for Shs10,000.

--Sunday Monitor, October 31, 2010