Sarah Kagingo warns of social media blackmailers


Sarah Kagingo


Some people are just waking up to Social media and are using it to blackmail others.

On the eve of this year’s Kyankwanzi NRM Caucus, someone created a message announcing the death of Hon. Byandala, former Minister of Works, on behalf of President and ended the message with my name.

He/She then circulated it on WhatsApp groups run by NRM Poor Youths. I was alarmed by number of calls from media stations and other Ugandans about alleged Hon. Byandala death.

To 1st caller, I responded, ‘what did he die of?’ until I noticed it was getting out of hand and made an explanation that I had not announced the Minister dead.

Whereas the source was a clear telecom line that did not belong to me and my name was clearly mis-spelt, some circles sought my arrest. Hadn’t President Museveni been in the country, I would have tested coolers for the first time in my life for no wrongdoing.

I don’t know how President learnt about it. He stopped them from arresting me. It was also clear that he had initially been misinformed that I was the source of the false announcement. Matters were spiced-up when Hon. Byandala announced to the Kyankwanzi NRM caucus that he was the ‘only Minister whose death had been announced dead while he was alive’ to which President responded in Runyankole, ‘obwo nobukunguzi.’ I don’t know if the Minister believed I had announced him dead.

Earlier in the morning, someone had waltzed to my home to ‘tip’ me that President had ordered my arrest over Byandala death announcement and that he was very bitter. The person advised me to ran out of Uganda immediately for my safety before security operatives descended on my home. I panicked, I cried.

My children, my sick mum….How would I pack in a few minutes? I had prayed for a peaceful 2015. It turned out the most trying beginning of the year.

I was surprised when, moments later, the President got in touch with me over the matter. In fact, my phone had been ringing endlessly but I was not taking calls out of fear.

I have never known whether my informer tipped me in good faith. Or was he part of the whatsapp message craftsmen who got in touch to scare me to exile and use my going to confirm my newly acquired position, ‘enemy of the state’ ?If you were genuinely concerned about me, I am very sorry.

About the same time, President’s Press Secretary hoped from one radio to another claiming that I was about to announce to social media that ‘President was sick or had ran out of the country’ apparently on “orders of Hon. Amama Mbabazi.”

I thought that was ridiculous and did not merit my response. So what if one announced President had run out and he hadn’t? I laughed at the level of unseriousness. Did not know how serious and committed folks were to intrigue.

Days before Hon.Byandala whatsapp death announcement, I had been blamed for leaked cabinet list for I was ‘the only enemy of the state’ who could!!! This clique had in 2014 sent a press release to the media claiming President had excused himself from a meeting on his visit to Rome to make a call to Gen. Kale ordering investigations ‘against’ me.

Police denied President had given such orders and no security personnel has ever got in touch with me over investigations. The press release also claimed that President Museveni had earlier suspended me over misconduct that I did not know of.

If I am suspended or fired, how then do I access cabinet list that was also published and later pulled down by the NRM party Facebook page?

While investigations are okay, they should not be baseless. Investigations should establish facts. When orders are made purportedly ‘against’ one that means a pre-conceived position is taken towards which investigations work.

Imagine one to be said to have been suspended over misconduct by your Head of State. When will police-denied investigations end? When did deputy President’s press secretary take over police spokespersonry role? When will she announce the outcome of the investigations. Or was the press release an end.

I am very lucky that President believes in my good intentions. A thousand things went through my head. Why didn’t proponents of my arrest summon administrators of the whatsapp groups? Why did they not track the source of the whatsapp message since all telephone numbers are registered?

What happens to other Ugandans who are blackmailed by power-wielding bosses? Indeed, what happens to one when intrigue masters create evidence and use it to convince President about colleagues’ enemy of the state statuses? What if President, indeed believes and orders security forces to handle. Isn’t one dead meat?

And you know what? Intrigue clique-stars will never give the background of their contribution to crafting evidence. They will instead claim to be acting on President’s orders as if President receives information from space. Isn’t that how some people have vehemently turned against President and the NRM believing that President in a whisker turns against them?

Who is the enemy? The unfairly accused victims? Or the peddlers of misinformation?

Following false accusations against me tagging me to the former Premier, I now understand that there is a special class of entrepreneurs engaged in political profiteering and will not lose opportunity to make a buck. How many other falsehoods are made up against others for a quick buck.

Hon. Mbabazi has never called or ‘ordered’ me on anything. For long I have taken the Hon. MP for a cliquestar following so many rumours sorrounding NRM primaries. I took a personal position when I was told his team of Emmy Katabazi et al were responsible for phone messages to MPs defaming me during EALA elections in order to prop-up Dennis Namara for I was not a loyalist. But, there were other candidates in the race.

Red Pepper, thereafter, carried a story in which it was claimed the powerful Hon. Mbabazi could not support me due to historical issues he apparently had with an NRA heroic freedom fighter I am said to be close to. However, the NRA historical is known to steer clear of politics, respects leadership. I was at a loss.

If Hon. Mbabazi for reasons unknown to me does not like me, how then does he order me to undermine President? How do I, in matter of a month of his rumoured Presidential ambitions, gain his confindence to work with his team. Is Mr. Katabazi the only member of his team?

Enemies of NRM/State

Who are the enemies of the NRM? Not these political entrepreneurs? When they knowingly craft lies against others, do they recruit or dent the party support base? What credentials do they possess to support their self-appointed vetting role they deploy to declare some Ugandans enemies of the state?

At what point does one become an enemy of NRM? At what point is one promoted to ‘enemy of the state? In whose interest do peddlers of lies work? For working towards enstragement of members of NRM cannot be noble

Why are we concerned about social media abuse but ignore unwavering misuse of radio and other media by some government spokesmen where President is misrepresented everyday and distinguished Ugandans are humiliated weekly? Is media abuse permissible on radio? Isn’t it wise to follow President’s guidance to engage users instead of harassing them?

Does anyone believe President Museveni can send any of his staff to humiliate His Majesty the Kabaka on radio? Insult Ow’ek. Charles Mayiga or KCCA Executive Director who President has lauded several times at public functions including Capital Gang?

Emboldened by President’s recent comments on whatsapp guiding Ugandans against sectarianism, we are in for tougher times. Political entrepreneurs are now more awakened, will use social media as a tool to fight battles as we head to tougher political times.

Hon. Mbabazi team is said to have undermined the President in the most appalling of ways. However, if he ever declares candidature, Hon. Mbabazi will forever salute this special class of entrepreneurs purporting to work in the interest of President Museveni for earning him (Hon. Mbabazi) sympathy among Ugandans for in equal measure, are engaged in peddling of lies.

Sarah Kagingo, a Public Relations and Communications Authority in Uganda is one of the most followed social media icons involved in political communication. She is credited for revolutionizing and digitising President Yoweri Museveni.

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