By Caroline Kasondondo
Your persistence of writing about the first family and those remotely related to them has not only bred sectarianism among Ugandans, but has caused unnecessary antipathy yet in actual sense it is just an illusion. Timothy Kalyegira, in his article ‘The dynamics behind Museveni’s family rule,’justified why you should continue to write those outrageous stories.
Kalyegira said that the Magazine’s cover story “Family Rule in Uganda: How Museveni’s ‘clan’ runs government, sold like hot cake even in Museveni’s stronghold areas of Western Uganda particularly Ankole and Toro.
Andrew Mwenda, you are well aware that you too thrive on writing those ‘negative’ articles especially on matters of governance in Uganda in particular and Africa in general. You are invited to international meetings almost every week and you are among, if not, the best frequent flier in Uganda just because of what you write and your courage to tackle mistakes of government head-on. You are paid thousands of dollars per trip you make hence your international acclaim as a celebrated journalist.
You became one of the most popular journalists in the world when you were arrested for having called President Yoweri Museveni a villager in August 2005. All re-known media houses like CNN, BBC and others put you on the cover of their websites for a full week. You are a hotcake in most international forums where those who have resources keep themselves updated with goings on in Africa and will pay you well and keep you relevant to their cause.
That aside, you also aim at survival in the newspaper publishing industry and in order for you to do so, you must identify your market niche; the elite who in most cases are interested in criticism.
You kept quoting farfetched relationships like John Wycliff Karaazarwe, in your recent target of the story on family rule, who is not related to Mrs Janet Museveni by blood at all. Neither is Susan Muhwezi for that matter. So all the Kabonero’s that you have included in your story are not related to Mrs Museveni. Their relationship is simply on clan basis. Many other people you name like Maj. Bright Rwamirama the Minister of State for Animal Husbandry has no blood relationship with the president; it is also just a clan relationship.
When you quote sisters of Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho a.k.a Salim Saleh, the story loses focus. If we were to dig out those who are related to one another by marriage, the list will be inexhaustible.
Mwenda, we are aware that you are part of the first family. You have for the last eight years or so been living with Phiona, a sister to late Jennifer Kutesa (deceased wife of Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa). By implication, you are related to Lt Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba and Sam Kutesa by marriage.
Your sister Margaret Muhanga Mugisa is a member of Parliament who is also an NRM strong cadre formerly working with President’s Office. Her husband Michael Mugisa is the Chairman Kabarole District. Your other brother Lt. col Apollo Kayanja Muhanga is a Brigade Commander in Moroto and Isaac Baguma Muhanga is a Director in ISO. Meanwhile, your cousin Isingoma Kakiiza is married to Jolly Sabune’s sister who you purportedly say is related to Mrs Museveni. Your proximity to the first family especially Lt.Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba who is always seen at your house in Kololo, (perhaps to visit his aunt-in-law Phiona) makes us wonder whether you are not part of the ‘family rule’
Princess Elizabeth Bagaya, your aunt has been an Ambassador and your other relative Katenta Apuuli is an Ambassador. Does this tantamount to family rule? Anyhow, you need to note that most Bahima are related not by blood but clans and intermarriages. They also marry in the same families and unless they do not seek to be employed or are not entitled to do business in Uganda, they will always be a target of what you called ‘family rule’.