Man who abandoned family 13 years ago returns after wife gets PDM cash

Ms Efulansi Nalubega (centre) poses with the commissioner at the RDC secretariat Dr James Tweheyo (2nd R) and other State House officials at her home in Busolo village in Kayunga District PHOTO/ FRED MUZAALE

Kayunga, (UG):- Residents of Busolo Village in Kayunga Sub-county, Kayunga District were stunned when a man who had abandoned his family for 13 years returned home after his wife received Parish Development Model (PDM) funds.

Ms Efulansi Nalubega, 49, said her husband, Mr James Kisamba with whom she has six children abandoned them in 2011. However, she was surprised to see Mr Kisamba return to his home last month after she received PDM money.

The couple had been married for 15 years when Mr Kisamba decided to walk away, abandoning Ms Nalubega, who has a physical disability to fend for their children. Their eldest child is now 27 years.

“Because my husband (Kisamba) had no permanent job, he did all sorts of odd jobs to earn a living. He sometimes traded in coffee during the harvesting season plus doing casual labour jobs,” Ms Nalubega said on Tuesday at her home.

Ms Nalubega said as a wife, she only looked after the family and had no source of income. This, she said, meant that she had to depend entirely on her husband for a living.

“Whenever I asked my husband to buy us something like sugar, salt, sauce, clothes etc, he became violent and beat me. He would bark at me and ask why I was always making financial demands to him and why I was not engaging in any income-generating activities,” Ms Nalubega said.

Later, Ms Nalubega revealed that her husband wanted to rent out the 2 acre piece of land on which she grows food crops for the family, but she was assisted by the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA) officials in Kayunga District who blocked his plan.

Husband packs out things

In April 2011, Ms Nalubega said, without saying a word, Mr Kisamba packed his clothes in a bag and left the family in an uncompleted semi-permanent house on two acres of land. At first, Ms Nalubega thought Mr Kisamba would return after a few days but she got shocked when the days turned into months and then years without hearing from him.

“Although I have physical disabilities, I went ahead with farming to get food for my family, but also to have some for sale,” she said.

She also knitted sweaters plus making handcrafts, which she sold and got some money to fend for her family.

PDM funds come to the rescue

When the government introduced the PDM programme in February 2022, Ms Nalubega was chosen as one of the beneficiaries in Bukujju Parish. This was a big relief to her as she was struggling to buy seeds and fertilizer and a knapsack sprayer for her maize-growing enterprise.

She was early last year given Shs1 million to grow maize. From the two acres of maize, Ms Nalubega got Shs2.3 million upon harvest. She used some of the profits to buy a brand new bicycle at Shs350,000.
She also started plastering the family house and building a kitchen.

“Because of the PDM programme, my life has changed. I am now sure of having some money on me,” a jovial Nalubega said.

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Husband returns

The shock of her life came last month when her husband reappeared. His return is the last thing she ever expected in life.

Ms Nalubega narrated her story to journalists and a team of officials from State House led by, Dr James Tweheyo, the commissioner at the RDC secretariat who paid her a visit last Friday.

The State House officials were on a value for money assessment of government –funded projects in the district.

She informed the officials that, “When my husband heard that I was no longer a pauper as I used to be and that my life had changed because of PDM, he returned home. I accepted him back because he’s the father of my six children. We have not yet gotten into any quarrels and I am planning to start a small business,” a beaming Nalubega said.

Dr Tweheyo hailed Ms Nalubega for being hard working and for continuing to fend for her family when her husband deserted the family.

“You have disabilities, but because you are determined and hardworking you have been able to increase your household incomes,” Dr Tweheyo said.

Husband speaks out 

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Mr Kisamba told this reporter on phone that he deserted his home because he had no money to look after his family. “Do you know how difficult life becomes when one has no money?” Mr Kisamba asked, adding that he had come back permanently to his home.

Dr Charles Iga, the Kayunga district director for production, however, cautioned Ms Nalubega against donating the PDM funds to her husband. “You should not give your husband the PDM money, continue using these funds to increase household income and fight poverty,” Dr Iga advised.

Mr Godfrey Bakiddeawo, the chairperson Busolo Village advised  Mr Kisamba to live in harmony with his wife if they are to realise meaningful development in their home. He criticized men who abandon their responsibilities and want their wives to instead play their roles.

The Parish Development Model (PDM) programme was launched in February, 2023 by President Museveni’s government to get into the money economy 39 percent of the country’s 43 million population that lives on hand-to-mouth.

This story was adapted from Monitor as published by Fred Muzaale

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