10 Years Later: Mark Bugembe known to many as Buchaman has been MIA for 10 years now, following his break up with Bobi Wine, only reappearing in the news when the latter was swearing in as Kyadondo East MP. The former Ghetto vice president was taking over the Ghetto presidency. He talked to Lawrence Ogwal about why he has been AWOL, his relationship with Bobi Wine and his life right now.
You have been missing in action, what have you been upto?
Ever since I parted ways with Bobi Wine, I chose to do things underground. I have not been going to bars and I avoided media interviews.
What have you been doing underground because clearly you have not been singing?
When I left Bobi Wine, I was an angry man and it was the reason I released songs that were hitting at him; songs such as Kyagula Sada and Binkabya. However I later realised it was not the kind of music fans wanted to hear from me, so I decided to let go and go underground because I was losing track, as I am known for being a voice for the disabled.
Why are you coming out now?
If you have been following Buchaman, you will realise that I was with Bobi Wine when we started Firebase Crew and by the time I left, we had been together for 10 years. It is now 10 years without Bobi Wine, so you never know what will happen to Buchaman 10 years later. What I can tell you is that I have rebranded to a reggae artiste and I have a song titled Tonjooga featuring Disun Future and Darlington.
When you left Firebase, you started a music group called Badman Camp, why did it fail?
I was not the owner of Badman Camp and mark you, Badman Camp was not a music group, it was a recording studio that the owner chose to associate me with so as to attract customers since Buchaman was a big brand. I did the same with Sipapa Entertainment which many people thought I had signed with.
What trick is Buchaman using to get back on his feet?
While I was underground, I used to sell my media interviews. Many media houses used to contact me for interviews but I always asked them for Shs500,000 or Shs1m to sit down for an interview.
Why would you ask for money? Was it because you were broke?
I was not broke but I was trying to get the media off my case. The only thing the media knows is how to write negative stories about artistes. You are the first person I have sat down with to do an interview after 10 years and it is because I like and respect Daily Monitor.
Why did you swear in as Ghetto president when Bobi Wine became MP?
When Bobi Wine became Member of Parliament, he stopped being the Ghetto president. The President of Uganda sits in Parliament so he would not like it when he hears a Member of Parliament calling themselves Ghetto president.
How did it feel seeing Bobi Wine make it to Parliament?
It was disappointing because I consider him as a sellout. A real artiste never joins Parliament because as an artiste, your studio is your parliament. Bobi Wine would still do what he is doing in Parliament even as a musician. Remember the days when he did songs about KCCA, Electoral Commission and sanitation among other things meant for a good cause? The message was sent out and well received by the public.
Did you ever see an element of politics in Bobi while you still worked together?
Bobi Wine’s family has politicians but I did not think of him at any one time joining politics. I was shocked. I thought that his politics would only end in music and it is the reason I say he sold us out when he joined parliament. I never believe in Rastafarians joining politics.
Maybe he did not know that Rastafarians do not join politics…
Sometime back, Bobi Wine wanted to stand for mayor of Kampala but I sat him down and told him joining politics was not a good move and he listened. If I was still with him, he would not be in parliament. He would still be doing music for a good cause.
You really are against Bobi Wine being an MP…
As an MP, Bobi Wine is not with people who are supposed to guide him and tell him what is real and what is not. When you join politics, you start living a fake life, you live in illusions. Bobi Wine’s life is like a movie and instead of people guiding him, they just bow for him.
What do you mean Bobi Wine is living a fake life?
Back then, Bobi Wine would go to the slums, sit down and inspire the youth over a humble meal. Right now, he is always in parliament waiting to fight for the Constitution, he only goes to the ghetto when there is a strike. He will know this when the government changes and he has to run to exile with his family.
Don’t you think that as MP he has given the youth more reason to work hard?
This is two-way. He has inspired the youth to join politics, which is a good thing for aspiring politicians but many artistes are running into politics which is bad thing because politics and music do not mix.
Talking about music, young artistes seem to have taken over the industry.
I will always say old is gold, veterans are veterans and boys are boys. The young artistes might have good music but if you do not respect the people who have been in the industry for a long time, you cannot last long because they know the trick, but will only share it if you give them respect.
Are you saying Ziza Bafana was disrespectful to old artistes and that is why his music has faded?
Ziza Bafana’s case is not because of lack of respect but it is because of the way he approached the music industry. He made a mistake and started with what he should have ended with.
What do you mean?
Ziza Bafana started out as a hot artiste, releasing hit after hit. He did this without a professional manager, he did not know how to handle stardom, among other things. Right now, he is trying to recollect himself but it does not mean he is not relevant anymore.
Ten years away, what do you think of the music industry now compared to back then?
The industry has good musicians with good music but it is not as good as our days. There is a reason they say old wine is sweet wine; it is because as Buchaman, I can still go and perform songs I did more than 10 years ago. Today’s songs are only good after watching the videos.
Do you miss the vibrant Buchaman that you used to be?
I live by the saying “Badness can trade goodness”. I fought with Bobi Wine and left him 10 years ago but this has also helped me get a new life. I am inspiring youth and mentoring them to become good people. The Buchaman I was many years ago was an arrogant one fighting with people and artistes here and there.
The government recently passed a law to arrest all celebs found wearing army camouflage outfits, we see you have not stopped.
Buchaman is a senior citizen who is known by the government of Uganda and besides that, I am a public figure. I do not wear camouflage when I am away from home, I wear it at home, therefore no one should think Buchaman puts on camouflage for a bad cause.
If you received a call from Bryan White right now to join the podium, how would you react?
I do not see a reason to work with Bryan White because I am one of the people who saw him back then when he was still in school. Bryan White was at a school called Namukosi SS in Mityana. He used to organise school events and would invite me and the Late Weatherman to perform.
That was back then, he is a rich man now…
He might be a rich man but I consider him a confuser. You cannot tell me you drive expensive cars but no one knows where Bryan White gets his money. He is meant to inspire the youth but it is hard since no one saw his humble background. Bobi Wine was seen doing all kinds of jobs until he made it to parliament, he can at least be a good example to the youth.
What are your last words to the fans?
To all my fans, Africa is the target. We should not hate the fact that we are Africans because everything is coming to Africa. Did you think that we would have smart phones? Before you know it, we shall have electric trains. Lastly, we have to cherish life because it is a blessing.