TOP Life Style STORY
20 years ago .
Dean of the big heart
To borrow the words of Col. Kahinda Otafiire: "A lot has been said and written about Jimmy (Dean). Jimmy the sportsman. Jimmy the motor rally ace, Jimmy the journalist and broadcaster. Jimmy the philanthropist.
By Wangwe Mulakha To borrow the words of Col. Kahinda Otafiire: "A lot has been said and written about Jimmy (Dean). Jimmy the sportsman. Jimmy the motor rally ace, Jimmy the journalist and broadcaster. Jimmy the philanthropist. Jimmy the very nice, warm and decent person that he was. "But there is a side to him that has not been so very well publicised." Then sports minister Alfred Omony Ogaba adds: "The people of Uganda will live to remember his great contribution in motor sport as an active participant and a champion at that, as an administrator and a strong arbitrator in resolving the motor sport wrangles." Otafiire adds: "His famous jokes and merry laugh shall never be heard again. He would want us to be laughing and cracking jokes at his burial. He certainly would have had a joke on this sad occasion." That is how leaders looked at Jimmy. But there was the other side of Jimmy Dean. He was a man with a big heart. Jimmy Dean's most renown controversy was his being towed almost to the finish in the 1986 Spear Motors Independence rally. Dean, who died of massive heart attack last Friday, was then chairman of Uganda Motor Club. But as a participant in the rally, he allowed himself to be towed in broad daylight to a few meters to the finish against the regulations. Dean with the late George Bitature as co-driver suffered a major breakdown deep in the countryside after Masaka. Dembe Team manager, Frank Kibuuka Musoke in a Mercedes Benz pulled the crew through to Speke Hotel from which point he rolled on his own for about 200 meters to the finish at International Conference Center. Controversy arose and the prize giving ceremony was halted for some time until the then Principal State Attorney MacDusmus Kabega was asked to interpret the rules by National Council of Sports (NCS). The results were upheld allegedly because complaints were raised outside regulation time. The big hearted Dean wondered in a press interview why his victory sparked off so much controversy. "I had a breakdown at Katende and I was leading by a very big margin in points. The car had an oil leakage." Pressed to comment on the towing, Dean stared this author in the eyes, laughed and then said: "Quote: that is heresay. My car was refueled and a service car pulled me to start." He then burst in laughter. Dean was a self-made man who rose everywhere through the ranks. He was proud of what he was. When Paul Kana, a former floor manager at Uganda Television, reminded him that he was once the boss while Dean was a cameraman, Jimmy answered: "I preciate your input." By then Jimmy Dean was director of UTV. They remained close friends and Jimmy employed Kana at his Technofire Appliances after both retired from civil service mid 1990s. Kana drowned in Lake Victoria two years ago. The two time Uganda rally national champion (1987-88) was a professed fighter. During his term as UMC chairman he allowed the emergence of more clubs for motorsport to attain affiliation to NCS. But when UMC wanted him back as boss of the club, he retorted: "I am not for chairman, my club members want me as competition secretary because I am a good fighter. I can fight for UMC rights in the AACC," as he demonstrated his physic. After being banned by AACC alongside Gerry Nobble and Andy Kigozi for causing disrepute to the game, Jimmy Dean called The New Vision before receiving the banning letter and said: "These people have banned us for six months but we shall fight on." It was therefore not surprising that Jimmy Dean recently floated the Federation of Motorsport Clubs of Uganda (FMU) that immediately gained the recognition of NCS and government leading to the present stalemate with Automobile Association Uganda (AAU). Jimmy was a top arbiter in a meeting called to stem the FMU/AAU stalemate 48hours before he died in his sleep. Many Ugandans knew the ever jolly Dean as of Indian origin. But one day when challenged why people of the Indian Sub-Continent less often use public lavatories, he disowned that line. "I am a product of Pakistan." Then he added humourously of his Pakistan wife and mother-in-law's hate for his drinking habits. "My mother-in-law even climbs the ceiling of my residence to destroy whatever bottles of whiskey are hidden there." No wonder Dean's burial on Monday at the Kololo Moslem Cemetery was full of drama. His body placed in the casket wrongly had to be turned several times before it was eventually laid to rest. His old pal Karim Hirji of the famous Dembe Team cried out in Luganda: "Things are berserk, help, he is heavy." Dean was a Pan Africanist who organised a motor rally to Rwanda during skirmishes between Uganda and Rwanda in Kisangani. He was chairman of Uganda-Cuban Society and a trustee of Nakivubo Stadium. Eleven drivers have already confirmed participation in a sprint in his memory this Sunday at Kaazi racing circuit. Moses Lumala, Chipper Adams and Charlie Lubega are among the leading drivers who have confirmed participation. Ends