I have lingered in our historic monasteries

And discerned a death among the dusty pages

Of him who fell silently as the story itself;

I have released my mind to wander

The great distances of time and memory

Between the dark pages of those times

And the dark moments of his death


And my heart becomes pale like the moon

Like the egg-shell beneath this horror my eyes cannot not crack


The pages have revealed to me his last moments,

And I have held my breath

Seeing him preparing to go to work

Preparing himself for a death -and a burial-

The future will disregard

And I call out his name

Ben Kiwanuka! BEN KIWANUKA!

Don’t go to work today! It’s not worth it-

Stay home and make the meal

Stay home, the country still needs you alive

We have corruption to fight and tribalism to overthrow

We have peace to make and forgiveness to preach

Happiness to provide and fairness to teach

The nation needs your guidance this nation needs to grow

Don’t go to work today

Ben Kiwanuka please -stay home today!

Don’t go to work;

If you go it will be your last day to be seen alive

If you go, the nation will miss men like you…


Praying I might hear the breathing of God

Breathe the warning like He breathed courage

In the lungs of this man about to die before my eyes

I am starved of visions

To make him hear me cry out to save his life.


I have watched him go to work

And fight for justice the way he does.

And I have watched the moment

The soldiers grab him and throw him in the boot

Escorting him to his death, silent as the story itself.


And my heart becomes pale like the moon

Like the egg-shell beneath this horror my eyes cannot crack


I have not been at rest for all these years

During the day I laugh but during the night I have nightmares

I wake up calling out Ben Kiwanuka, wishing the nation did the same

Wishing all people knew what Ben Kiwanuka did-

The sacrifice he made for all of us; his family, his life-

I have nightmares because the nation he died for forgot his sacrifice

I have nightmares because Ben Kiwanuka still turns in his grave

And he screams aloud every night

Like he did the night the soldiers drove daggers in his chest

And slew his neck and kicked his body and demanded the devil to take his life

He screams aloud because it’s exactly what we are doing

We are killing this nation with corruption and tribalism

And with coldness in our hearts, like murderous soldiers,

We drive daggers into the nation’s chest and slay its neck

And kick its body and demand the devil to take its life.


And Ben Kiwanuka’s heart becomes pale like the moon

To his horror that his sacrifice went to waste

And every night he cries wishing he had stayed home.


Nightmares is one of the poems in the recently launched  poetry collection, The Headline That Morning and Other Poems

The Headline That Morning and Other Poems is a poetry collection by myself, Peter Kagayi and published by Sooo Many Stories. There are 50 poems in the book with wide-ranging themes, from love and disillusionment to politics and to social commentary.

Alongside the book is a CD with 15 of the 50 poems in the book performed by me ft Hawa N Kimbugwe. The book was launched on June 2016 at the National Theatre with an event to talking about the marriage of music and poetry.

Th Headline That Morning and Other Poems (book and CD) are available at BookPoint (Village Mall), The National Theatre (Box Office), Uganda Bookshop, Uganda Museum and you can also buy from the Sooo Many Stories website/text 0783261909 for deliveries.

In Kenya, TheMagunga Bookstore is the place to go


Written by Kagayi Ngobi (1)

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