A 65-year-old man, Mustafa Magambo Mutone, wants the Government to support some of his 176 children. “I have tried to feed my 13 wives and over 170 children and it is not easy. I request the Government to at least sponsor 30 of my children in secondary schools and tertiary institutions,” Mutone, a businessman and a resident of Kyaterekera trading centre in Kagadi district, said.
He added that he has over 40 children in primary school and has plans to establish his own nursery and primary school in Kyaterekera subcounty. He says he has about 10 children in the universities (Makerere, Mbarara and Kyambogo), most of them on private sponsorship. Mutone has five pairs of twins among his children. His children will hit the 180 mark by the end of the year because six of his wives are pregnant.
Mutone, a Mubwisi by tribe, is the chairman of Kyaterekera A village. He says he was born on January 1, 1952 in Kiryabwenju, Nyamiti parish, Muhorro town council in Kagadi district. His first marriage was in 1968 at 16 years of age.
He explained that he is still strong enough to marry more wives and bear more children, since he does not drink alcohol, smoke or take sugar. Mutone, who deals in produce (beans, maize and coffee), also owns a wholesale shop at Kyaterekera trading centre. Mutone said some of his wives are working as midwives at Mulago Hospital and Mbarara Hospital and in Rwanda.
"Two of my wives who gave birth to twins are in Kampala and Isingiro, working as midwives, while another two — Haniffer Kabasomi and Jane Tuhaise — work as nurses. My youngest wife is 25, and the eldest is 50, but I had about 10 girlfriends before I married officially and they all delivered the same year,” Mutone said.
He added that his first born child is 49 years old, while the youngest are four-year-old twins. He further noted that he has over 90 grandchildren. The grey-haired Mutone, said he has a special book where he records every child born whether within the country or outside, because he has some wives in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.
He said one of the challenges he faces is the long distance as some of his women live in different parts of the country. ‘’I receive about 10 calls every day from different wives who want attention but I cannot be everywhere. I have seven wives in Kagadi alone,” he said. “I do not have any challenge of supporting them because some of them support themselves since they work,” Mutone said.
Madina Tibasiima, 45, one of his wives who has nine children, said she has not faced any problems with a big family because most of her children are working as soldiers, civil servants and nurses. She, however, said her younger children need school fees; some are in primary school and others in secondary school. One of Mutone’s sons, Kyaise Suwedi, 40, the Gombolola internal security officer of Kyaterekera, said his monthly salary caters for some of his brothers’ education.
“We were groomed by our father to be responsible, have good morals and work hard. The only challenge is the big number of dependants of other wives who have children aged between four and 13 years,’’ Kyaise said. Muhamad Byarufu, 45, also a son of Mutone, said he owns a business and helps pay school fees of some of his younger brothers.
"We have a programme of starting up a school with our father, since some of my brothers are teachers. We will not find a problem hiring teachers and having pupils to teach. Some of my young brothers are in primary elsewhere and some children of our stepmothers are of school-going age. They can fill the classes,’’ he said.
Moses Basalirwa, one of the family planning experts at Kagadi Hospital, said producing many children is not good, since it is accompanied by health challenges and costs that one has to incur in meeting their basic needs and educating them.