KAMPALA – Last night I visited John Katuramu, having gotten out of jail after serving 21 years, ten of which he was spent on death row, not sure whether he would live another day. Many men are broken by these changes in their fortunes but John was much stronger in those broken places. His life shows that incarceration is not incapacitation.
Initially John was devastated by his imprisonment and death sentence. He became bitter and despondent. But after a while, he changed. And when he changed, jail became a place for self development, for self cultivation and for reflection. He found faith and was reborn.
The man who went to Luzira in 2,000 was among the richest men in Uganda. While in prison he lost most of his fortune. Yet he has come out of prison even much, much richer than he ever dreamt; only that this time John is richer in his soul, and that is where it matters the most!
I met John when I was a kid of 20 years and a nobody, and he among the five richest men in Uganda and a prime minister of Toro. In spite of his status and wealth, John embraced me like an equal; befriend me and showered me constantly with his love and praise. Who does that?
I honor this giant of a man because he demonstrates the richness of the human spirit! I am sure John made many mistakes in his life like all of us humans. And he has learnt from them. But I also know for sure that John’s good deeds are much, much bigger than those mistakes!
Andrew Mwenda is a Ugandan veteran journalists