On December 13, Brian Kirumira, known to many as Bryan White, was arrested and detained at Kabalagala Police Post after claims that he had shot Victor Bitwire on the neck. . He was arrested with Thomas Okot, his personal guard.
On December 18, White and Okot were transferred to Nalufenya, a high detention facility in Jinja, and when they appeared before court three days later, White was sent to Luzira prison.
While at Luzira, Bryan White was detained at Kampala Remand, a section where the socialite continued to live the life Ugandans had known him for the past six months – luxury.
When we visited, at the first checkpoint the security personnel asked whom we had gone to visit. The mention of Bryan White got us wide smiles: “You are friends with him? When you come out tell him we need some milk here at the gate.”
Not everyone saw him
At another gate at Kampala Remand, an exercise book was given to a female security guard, Madam Nyangoma, who told us that the number of people who visited Bryan White everyday was more than 50.
“Bryan White in the history of Luzira Prison is the most visited, with guests coming from Mityana where he grew up, relatives, celebrities and some people that he had never seen in life,” Nyangoma said, adding that, sometimes he chose who to see. If your name did not ring a bell and he was not in a good mood, you would find yourself spending hours at the waiting desk.
Lessons he learnt
“Prison is like a hospital. When someone is your friend, they will come and see you to make you feel better,” Bryan White said, adding that one lesson he learnt was that many people only need you when you are available but they actually do not care.
“Many people were on my side when I was giving out money and spending on different things but I did not see any coming to visit me in prison. I was told they were busy attending white parties,” the socialite said.
Life in Luzira
Apart from not having his cool clothes to don, Bryan White did not seem too sad to be locked up. He rocked his Gucci sandals with his yellow prison uniform and moved with his bodyguard Okot, who continued to run his security detail in the prison.
Whereas other inmates were supposed to be in their cells at exactly 4pm, Bryan White and Okot would still be hanging around.
Speaking to Okot, he said: “We would sit at the prison gardens until the time when we wanted to enter prison. We could send for our jackets when it got cold.”
The legacy he left behind
Barely a week after he was jailed, White gave part of the prison a facelift, painting walls, the kitchen, security house near the gate and cells.
He also demolished and reconstructed the old canteen, which he gave a new roof, new tiles and expanded.
That aside, White also bought fifteen 50-inch TV sets for different halls with DSTV subscription fully paid for up to two years.
Will he return to help Luzira Inmates?
“When I went to Luzira, no one knew that I was going to do charity work in there,” Bryan White said, adding that when he feels the need to go back and do more charity, he will go because he was told he would always be welcome. Upon his release on Monday on a cash bail of Shs10m, Bryan White was ordered to deposit his passport in court. He will return to court on January 30.
Shortly before he was given the green light to leave the court premises, White bought sodas, mineral water, bread and biscuits for the prisoners in court. He then climbed in the back of his Tundra car, followed by a convoy of three cars and motor bikes to his home in Munyonyo. Mid-way his journey, he decided to walk on foot while waving to revellers who had abandoned their shops and houses to see what was going on.