Aisha-Albhai
Albhai
Albhai

“You are giving me news; but if that decision was taken I would be one of the first people to know,” Beyanga, who is the KFM Programmes Manager and direct supervisor of Ms Alibhai, said.

On Saturday May 9, about 350 kilometres from Kampala, a big political event was happening in Eastern Uganda. Flamboyant politician Capt.Mike Mukula, who has been Soroti Municipality Member of Parliament, was calling it a day in office. A big function attended by hundreds of supporters was held in the town that serves as Teso’s main commercial hub. As he bade farewell to his supporters, Capt. Mukula asked those eyeing his seat to come forward. Several people—all men—walked forward. One lady stayed rooted to her seat in the VIP tent. Capt.Mukula called her out. The light-skinned lady with a gorgeous figure, who immediately got a rapturous applause, was none other than Aisha Alibhai.
Alibhai is a presenter on KFM, a sister radio station to Daily Monitor, which is the major Ugandan media outlet of the Nairobi-based Nation Media Group. The group that was founded by the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim sect, the Aga Khan, also owns NTV Uganda.
The Monday press (both New Vision and Daily Monitor) carried the story of Mukula’s impending exit from politics. They also made mention of Alibhai’s presence at the function. That explains the editor’s early Monday morning presence at Daily Monitor premises. His godfather, who is also a senior politician in opposition, and a respected journalist, is reported to have sent him on an urgent mission; to establish exactly what happened in Soroti and on which political party ticket Aisha Alibhai would be contesting to replace Mukula.
After making several calls on this Monday, this particular editor established that Alibhai would be running on an NRM ticket. He was also told that she was seen as a front-runner, having been the only candidate at the function to speak fluent Ateso and seemed to have greatly excited the women voters present.
This information was quickly relayed to the politician who in turn, reportedly made a phone call to Monitor Publication Limited’s managing director, Mr Tony Glencross. The South African citizen who was appointed MPL’s MD in March this year previously worked at the Vision Group where he oversaw its marketing campaigns. He holds a diploma attained after attending a series of management workshops for CEOs and top business managers.
The politician’s instructions to Glencross were clear: “Fire Aisha Alibhai. Why are you letting her campaign on the NRM ticket yet she works on our radio?”
On Tuesday morning, Glencross reportedly summoned Alibhai to his office on the third floor of the building. After mumbling stuff about the poor ratings of the D’Mighty Breakfast that Alibhai co-hosts with Chris Obore, he went to what was burning him.
“OK, tell me about this MP thing. Is it true you are running for Parliament?” he asked Aisha.
“What is true is that I was at the function,” replied Aisha. “Hon Mukula asked me to greet the voters which I did. I am still consulting friends and family on whether I should run even when it is obvious people seem to love the idea of me running.”
“Anyway, “a senior politician/journalist” called me yesterday,” Glencross chipped in. “He has asked that I relieve you of your duties. I want to know by this Friday if you would have made up your mind,” the MD reportedly told the presenter.
And as Aisha walked out, he added: “And just know this “politician” is disappointed with you running on an NRM ticket.”
Friday is not here yet. Friends in whom Aisha has confided in have told her not to give in into this politician’s bullying. If indeed Glencross accepts to implement the directive, this will not be the first time this year that MPL sacks people on the premise of ‘supporting’ the ruling NRM party.
In January there was a national debate after the newspaper sacked its Managing Editor for the daily editions, Mr Don Wanyama, on grounds that he had published the results of an opinion poll that painted opposition candidates including ex-premier Amama Mbabazi as being weaker than President Museveni. Again, it was this politician and his protégé who were said to be at the centre of Wanyama’s sacking. That time the call was placed to stand-in MD, Steven Gitagama, who, with the help of then Executive Editor, Malcolm Gibson, wielded the axe. The action was clothed as a restructuring exercise. Unable to contain the pressure emanating from that action and with government reviewing his work permit, Gibson was showed the axe and returned to his American homeland where he is looking after his ducks.
A month before Wanyama’s exit, MPL had again sent its Managing Director, Alex Asiimwe, packing on grounds of poor business leadership. Watchers, however, suggest that again this mafia could have had a hand in Asiimwe’s sacking.

As Aisha awaits her fate, the irony is that another lady called Hadijah Mwanje, who is News Editor of MPL’s Luganda station, Dembe FM, has gone public about her intentions to run for a woman MP seat in one of the central region districts. She posts updates of her political activities on social media and has on several occasions used both Dembe and KFM to promote her candidacy.
But observers say that MPL management and MD Glencross see no problem with this. Why? Because unlike Aisha who is on the NRM ticket, Ms Mwanje is standing on opposition ticket, they argue.
However, contacted on phone Mr Joseph Beyanga denied the gorgeous babe had been axed.
“You are giving me news; but if that decision was taken I would be one of the first people to know,” Beyanga, who is the KFM Programmes Manager and direct supervisor of Ms Alibhai, said.
Beyanga added that he met Ms Alibhai today (Friday) after she had completed her slate for the week, and added that in the course of their interaction there was no hint whatsoever that the presenter had been fired.