Former Member of Parliament Gamaliel Mbonimana’s new book “The Power of keeping sober,”. Courtesy
In his new book “The Power of keeping sober,” former Member of Parliament Gamaliel Mbonimana has hinted on the tough life he endured after his resignation.
The 43-year-old academic-cum-law maker quit his position in November 2022 after coming under scrutiny for repeated drunk driving.
Launched on Sunday, November 12, the book offers an account of his life’s ups and downs with alcoholism and turnaround, at the heart of which was the incident when President Paul Kagame publicly voiced his concerns about the MP’s “dangerous” drunk-driving.
In one of the book’s chapters, he talks about how he got hit by financial hardships that made him sell some of his property in order to service a bank loan. In an interview with The New Times, he said this was aimed at avoiding the auction of his house.
“I sold my two plots in Gahanga, Kicukiro District and my Jeep Rav4 so that the bank could not auction my house due to loan non-performance. That time the bank pressure was very high on me,” he noted.
He tried out lecturing at some universities but still, he could not do much in relation to the needs he had. Later, he landed a job at the East African University as a director of research.
This, in some way, alleviated some of the financial stress.
Mbonimana’s book also reveals the raw emotions he experienced upon learning about the fact that his leaders in the parliament, as well as President Kagame had expressed concerns about his lifestyle of alcoholism.
He notes, for example, that it was in the wee hours of November 13, 2022 when he received news that he had been a subject of complaint by the president during one of the meetings that he had held.
At around 1am while in bed, his phone rang for a message. Curious who was writing to him at that time, he reached out to look at the phone’s screen. He realised that it was one of his bosses.
That night was a tough one for him. He was mired in shame and regret. He says he wondered whether it was real or “just a night-mare or a movie.”
His family members were asleep at that time. He didn’t want to wake them up “to burden them with the problems he had brought upon himself.” However, he arose up from his bed, got his and started typing.
Moments later, his wife woke up and asked what was wrong with him. He replied that he was writing a resignation letter.
They had a brief talk, but he knew there was no need to debate the decision.
When the letter was ready, he called his superior, who picked up the phone. Mbonimana conveyed his decision to resign. His boss agreed to accept his resignation on a working day.
He says he has since quit drinking alcohol.