A World War veteran, Lieutenant Jack Kigongo of Kateera village, Kiboga district had 158 children by the time of his death in November 2011.
He fathered the children from 20 wives but by the time of his death he had 11 wives, according his son Patrick Bulira Kigongo. He left behind about 500 grandchildren.
New Vision found three of Kigongo’s widows and a number of his children and grand-children still staying at his dilapidated mansion.
Bulira said the family is going through a hard time, following the death of their father. He said a number of Kigongo’s children are vending fruits in Kateera trading centre.
According to Bulira, the once prosperous family was impoverished by the five-year bush-war that brought the NRM/NRA to power.
He says their father had a coffee factory, two lorries, a big herd of cattle and all these were either looted or destroyed during the war.
The scars of the bush war are still visible on the family’s main house. The walls have bullet holes.
New Vision first published a story about Kigongo’s jumbosize family in 1997 when he had about 150 children. At the time, Kigongo had just married an 18-year old girl.
According to Bulira, his father had two homes in Kateera. The mansion was the main home where 12 of his wives stayed while eight lived in his second home.
Kigongo married his youngest wife, who was 18, when he was 80 years old. Strangely, she also died early this year.
Kigongo’s oldest son is 60 years and has a home and family in the same village while the youngest is 15.
Bulira said some of the surviving widows are staying with their grown-up children.
In 1939, Kigongo was recruited to fight in the Second World War where he won himself the rank of lieutenant in Burma. He returned in 1944 and became one of the wealthy Ugandans in the area.
Upon his return, he bought 60 acres of land and established coffee factories and a number of businesses.
Bulira said in the 1980s, the Obote II regime persecuted his father, prompting him to enlist some of his children to join the NRA.
“Obote had called my father a rebel and wanted to arrest him. When he (my father) realised that he was being persecuted, he mobilised 50 of my brothers and trained them in the Bokomero bushes,” says Bulira.
He said his brothers fought in the NRA bush war and 22 of them were killed in the struggle.
“Three of my brothers are in the army- a captain, a sergeant and a lieutenant,” he said.
New Vision could not verify Bulira’s claim that 50 of his brothers fought in the NRA bush war. When he was prosperous, Kigongo put up his own primary school and a church for his children and grandchildren.
At one time, 80 out of a school population of 130 were his children.
Source: New Vision