Gone, Hon. Arinda. G. Cowboy the missed rising Star

By Chris Mugasha

Like a Star in the sky disappears without anybody noticing, the same way how Bushenyi’s raising star Hon. Arinda Gordon Cowboy has disappeared from us. To many of his friends, relatives and supporters it is still difficult to believe that Arinda is no more, gone forever!! It will take time to accept the demise death of Arinda, but to his closest friends, they will soon come to terms on missing someone closer to their hearts to boost their morale and move on with life!!

‘Mwesho’, ‘Wayeshaaaa’,‘Warengaaaa,’ were always Cowboy’s opening/welcoming jokes whenever he would come across a close friend/buddy. He would always sound it well after watching his favourite game of Manchester United or spending an earlier evening together happening!

Arinda the former Bushenyi/Ishaka Municipality MP had become prominent not because of a powerful family back ground but because of his social living skills he had mastered.

Some people feel shy to be called their nicknames but to Arinda he was very happy and excited with his nickname ‘Cowboy’. In fact at first I feared to call him by that name fearing that he would get offended but I later discovered/ that the name was almost his official name amongst his contemporaries.

The name Cowboy had actually given him a millions of mileage. Even when he joined elective politics, the name Cowboy became a household name and it gave him a brand that sold like a hot cake across all the different categories of voters. He became a darling to many hence delivering him to parliament.

How he joined politics? 

Arinda came in lime light when he applied to retire early from Kashenshero Town council in Mitooma district where he had served as pioneer town clerk. It was a surprise to many especially to his friends because he was still young and they thought (at the time he retired) there were many opportunities in the young Town council he would have tapped. Many tried to convince him to keep the decision pending but Arinda had made his mind and he retired. Many of his friends thought maybe he wanted to join his family in Netherlands which he had earlier moved or go for greener pastures abroad but to our surprise he stayed at his hotel the then Bushenyi Guest house. He became like any other civilian aand due to his social character many people started to visit him at his hotel for consultations on a number of things.

Silently or internally, he hatched the idea of joining politics to represent the area in parliament but kept it to himself. In that process he organized a party to celebrate his retirement from the public service but to political analysists, this was his launch into politics. This party indeed marked his journey in politics!!

During this welcome home party at his guest house, police ‘invaded’ the area and used teargas to disperse the attendees, in the pretext that they were implementing Public Order management Bill. This angered most dwellers in Bushenyi town and when he announced that he was standing as the Member of Parliament to represent Bushenyi/Ishaka Municipality, he sailed through with ease.

He became a darling to many especially the youth. It would have been difficult for the NRM party to uproot the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC’s) Odo Tayebwa from the Municipality but Arinda( the Star Cowboy) managed to sell across all categories of people. His earlier free services he had offered to many people at his hotel, people looked at Cowboy as someone they were mixing well with freely.

The name Cowboy became a song across the Municipality! Arinda’s down-to-earth characters managed to convince the business community, the big shots in the area like Hassan Bassajjabalaba, the district NRM party chairman to rally behind him.

This enabled him to win the NRM primaries. After winning the NRM primaries where he defeated a number of candidates, he went on to face opposition’s Odo Tayebwa. Not that NRM was strong in the area but Arinda had a big support and sympathy across all political parties as people perceived him to be neutral. He run the campaigns and was finally declared a winner.

While in Parliament, Arinda remained royal to his NRM party. He was to some extent vocal and mixed well with all the Parliamentarians. Arinda played his politics with the highest sense of diplomacy. Whenever he would support a controversial issue at the floor of parliament Arinda could come back to his constituents to explain why he did so. This at some point disappointed some voters especially those who were from the opposition. He also consulted his constituents on a number of issues to present at the floor of parliament.

“At some point he failed to balance his electorates because to win the seat, the opposition had a contribution. When he reached in parliament he acted as if he was delivered by only NRM,” remarked one voter adding that, “he has however been a good legislature and a diplomat in handling controversial topics and handling issues that concern a common person.”

In his term of office, he mobilized the locals to venture into urban farming especially championing passion fruits growing. He was in fact nicknamed ‘Akatunda’. His poverty eradication campaigns saw a number of people opening up their land which had remained idle.

Arinda will always be remembered for leading a demonstration that saved Bushenyi’s famous Kabagarame pork market. The market was almost being sold off to settle the debts that the Bushenyi Municipal council had with some business man in Ishaka town. Arinda passionately presented the issue on the flour of parliament leading to the saving of the market.

Arinda partnered well with social groups like Make Bushenyi Great Again (MBUGA) to demand for better services from the Bushenyi/Ishaka Municipality leadership. Together with MBUGA, they forced a contractor to re-do a bridge which he (contractor) had done shoddily. “He has been a transparent leader,” said Pison Mugizi, the MBUGA chairperson.

The Bishop of West Ankole Diocese Rt. Rev Johnson Twinomujuni says, “We thank God for Arinda’s contribution as a leader and politician. He played a neat role across the sphere of human social relations both in an extensive and limited way. He knew how to handle differences as well as how to tame his personal challenges in order to keep peace. It was evident throughout his tenure that he preferred harmony to conflict,” the Bishop said in a condolence message to the grieved family.

Caption: Fomer Bushenyi Municipality MP late Arinda Gordon (in blue suit) with former Minister Mary Karooro at one of the church function.

“We shall forever remember his contribution towards National health insurance bill. He fought hard to see its birth and we believe one day, it shall pass,” eulogized Aggrey Ategyeka a child rights activist in Bushenyi town.

“Arinda loved education. He was always at the forefront in seeing education issues are well handled. He will always be remembered for his contribution in the education sector in our Municipality,” Aruho Paul the chairperson for Nyamiko primary school management committee asserted.

With all the attributes, many will ask why he didn’t retain the seat as an MP.  But to those who understand how the NRM primaries were conducted, Arinda could not win the election that was driven and influenced by money. He had actually sensed it but being an incumbent holding the NRM he could not abandon his electorates and stood for another term.

After losing the NRM primaries, Arinda together with his campaign agents and supporters moved on with his party royalty and supported the party’s flag bearer Derrick Kabura the now area MP.

Caption:  Late Arinda Gordon (left) during his successor Derrick Kabura’s (centre) victory party.

 After parliament……….

Unlike many former MPs or public servants who decide to settle in Kampala or look for other jobs after serving in Parliament, for Arinda he packed his belongings and resettled with his people in our small Bushenyi! He had invested some of his little savings back home!  Cowboy had just finished furbishing his Bushenyi Guest house hotel that is located in Tankhill Bushenyi. He had turned it around re-naming it-The deacons Hotel! He reopened this hotel just in December!! He had given his hotel the best touch around. All the exposure he earned while in Parliament is visible at his hotel! He has been planning a mega opening function after Covid-19! Arinda had added value onto the hospitality industry in western Uganda! Arinda has been the Manager, the Chief marketer for his concept.

“It is unfortunate that he has left us at the time when we had started to fully tap from his potential,” said the Senior Presidential Advisor Mary Karooro Okurut the former Bushenyi district woman MP and former Minister who served with Arinda in Parliament.

Away from politics


Arinda served as Clerk to Council for Bushenyi district local government. It is during this time when the Star Cowboy became a celebrity after getting into a relationship with a young lady from the Netherlands, his wife Nartalie Arinda. It was a surprise to many especially to his supervisors and friends and the public. Nartalie had joined Bushenyi district local government as a volunteer and Arinda and Nartalie later wedded.


In 2015 Arinda arranged and took his family to settle in the Netherlands where he has been going frequently to check on them.

A parent, Counselor, Simple, humble Cowboy! A friend to many! Down to earth fellow!! Always youthful, jovial, very charming!

It’s terrible, that he is gone, and gone forever! It will be very difficult to accommodate this! But God also wants such Stars! Arinda you have walked life journey well, you have left a mark, you have left a legacy, you have been a pro-people person, you have been a ‘torch holder’ in the Kakuma Family, you struggled against so many odds, you have served your Church in different capacities….Go and Rest Well Dear Hon. Arinda. End.

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