In 2006 while on my usual sojourn in Pretoria, South Africa I received an email from then Government Media Center boss Robert Kabushenga.
Like Drew Ddembe will tell you I had been engaged in blogging policy positions considered not so hostile to the NRM government for almost five years. But in 2005 I had had a brush with Paul Kagame’s no nonsense boys here in Kampala having travelled purposely for me over an article of mine that ran in The New Vision on the 22nd July 2005 as well as Red Pepper critical of Kigali and in defense of Kampala.
This was the time Gen. Museveni was certain Gen. Paul Kagame wanted him out of town, thus penning a long letter about the small country to then British Foreign Secretary Claire Short that he badly needed to increase defense spending which had been capped at 1.9 per cent of GDP due to Paul Kagame’s increasing belligerence.
During this period people like Andrew Mwenda were cheerleaders of RPA against UPDF in Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC). Like he has said recently, I know the man literary was peddling rumors further fueling conflict between Kampala and Kigali. It was big business to exploit as both Museveni and Kagame were paranoid of each other’s intentions. The hyenas of course scavenged on the carcass. It is even worse now that Mr. Museveni increasingly accepts the reality of the physical wear and tear on his frame.
Bob Kabushenga had an itching problem according to the email; Radio Katwe. In his office were young cadre journalists who had read some of my opinions in print media and possibly alerted him about my technical competences and a possible match for his resource needs or they possibly suspected I was the very ‘mole’ behind Radio Katwe.
Kabushenga wanted a milestone of bringing down Radio Katwe and possibly unmasking those behind the anti-government propaganda online publication. As a Media Center Chief he was powerful with direct access to then chief power broker and ‘super minister’ John Patrick Amama Mbabazi and therefore Mr.Museveni.
After exchanging a couple of emails on the subject I promised to meet the then Media Center boss on my return from South Africa. On the actual day of the appointment Bob informally arranged it at a bar (City Bar) that used to be opposited Crown House on Jinja road right next to an old (Shell) Petro Station. I don’t know if those buildings still exist (because) I don’t do business in those congested place anymore.
Anyway, in the cover of darkness I showed up. Bob Kabushenga shared a table with Daniel Kalinaki. I am not sure if my host bought me a beer because I don’t remember. After the camaraderie greetings we went straight to the Radio Katwe beast. My thinking was that Kabushenga wanted to bring down Radio Katwe. Daniel Kalinaki his friend was at the Monitor Publications and by all means a paper considered hostile to government.
The discussion ventured into objectives of shutting down Radio Katwe but also ‘unmasking’ the ‘Interahamwe’ behind Radio Katwe. It appears a prominent journalist in Kampala was a high profile suspect for the Katwe project but then technology had not fully come to Kampala.
Now someone had given out my name as some ‘geek’ who could make things happen and for free by the way since I was considered a volunteer bush war cadre. To cut the story short, I don’t remember what happened after that meeting. But that was the first and last time I ever met Robert Kabushenga and the highly cerebral Dan Kalinaki complete with his trademark cap. I would love to meet them again now that we all have grey hair in our beards and all over our scalp.
By the way, I have never in my entire life ever applied for a UK visa or travelled to the former Head Office of the British Empire.
“Have you ever had any business dealings with this motor mouth journalist from Kanyabahindi, Rutete in Fort Portal?” Someone asked me.
“NEVER, I can tell a conman by the way he talks on telephone or Radio” was my response.
I am told Ofwono Opondo has made allegations through their rumor clubs that I am ‘TVO’ and I became hostile to NRM after obtaining a scholarship to do ICT from State House. Ofwonoooooooo!!!!
Then came another random man also falling over himself that he was going to make the sun and the heavens kiss Lake Victoria by ‘UNMASKING’ TVO.
The network of people through which these wild online rumor mills run is a close unit of money launders known in Kampala and some are well educated but functionally illiterate young men and women.
Next I will tell you what happened with the Radio Katwe project and how in 2007 Michael Ezra called me for another project for which we disagreed over US$20,000 but remained friends after sorting out our differences like men. TWAGWA DRAW!!
Blame this on expired malaria drugs in Kabulasoke.
Robert Shaka is a computer expert