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Sheeba’s sickening publicity stunt

COMMENT | ANDREW M. MWENDA | A local musician known as Sheeba Kalungi went on YouTube with a video. She claimed that some man who appears on television and presents himself as a role model raped her. She does not reveal the name of this man but claims this man has SFC guards and that the incident happened at an event where she performed. Yet she does not mention the event, the date, time and place of her rape.

Sheeba claims, again with characteristic ambiguity, that this man violated her body to her disgust but she does not specify whether it was rape or indecent assault. But she claims he did so in the presence of her staff in her car and was protected by his guards from SFC.

I find it strange that a woman of her stature can be violated in such a humiliating and painful experience and instead of reporting the offender to the police, she takes the matter onto social media. To gain what? Sympathy? Why not seek justice through the police and the courts? In any case she could have pursued both: sympathy in the public sphere and justice in the courts of law.

When her video came out, someone went on social media claiming that I was that person who raped her. I have never in my life met this Sheeba and had never even heard of her until this video came out and allegations made against me. When I watched the video I gave her the benefit of the doubt believing she is a descent person. I expected her, seeing how viral these allegations have gone, to come out and say I am being wrongly accused since I have never met her. She has kept stone silent.

After five days I deliberately contacted her via WhatsApp asking her to clarify that I have never met her, leave alone tried to rape her. She ignored my messages, didn’t pick my calls, and claimed it was her “management” reading these messages. I find it strange that Sheeba feels no obligation to expose the man who raped her but is comfortable having the wrong person being accused of the crime.

Immediately after these allegations came out, a group of young activists running a complaint against sexual harassment and molestation came to me for assistance. They had a poster and a tweet defending her and asked me to like and retweet which I did. But Sheeba never came out again to expose the man who violated her or at the very least clear my name. Why?

It seems to me that for all her pretense in that video, this incident may never have happened; and if it did, Sheeba saw it as an opportunity to do a publicity stunt in order to promote herself on social media. I despise such forms of social psychopathy even though I am aware that in our attention driven world of today they have produced such super stars like Kim Kadashian.

I have come to the conclusion that the ambiguity in her video is not innocent. I am told she is a popular musician. Why does she let a man who raped her go scott free and at the same time sit back as social media lynch an innocent person? Not that I really care about what people on social media say about me.

But I care that so many well intentioned people are duped by Sheeba. I also care that rape is a bad thing, that women who experience it suffer untold psychological trauma. It is therefore imperative that offenders are apprehended and taken to courts of law to face justice. But it is disgusting when someone abuses the trauma of other real women-victims in a publicity stunt.

Sheeba’s silence leads me to believe that the ambiguity in the video is deliberate. The reason she does not mention the man who raped her, if it is not fiction, is that she wants the public to speculate about the rapist whom, given her claims involving SFC guards, would be a prominent person. Whichever person would become suspect would increase her social media profile as a desirable person by powerful men. This is sickening psychopathy.

It is no coincidence that her allegations of violation happened the same night we hosted a birthday party of Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba in Entebbe Cricket Oval. We had artists perform there and I’ve asked our event organizers and they have confirmed that she was not one of our entertainers. Sheeba’s ambiguity about the event where she performed and got “raped” is clearly aimed to make people believe she was at Muhoozi’s birthday, which again scores for her more social points as an entertainer at such a high profile event.

Third, her ambiguity about the time and place of her alleged rape is aimed to achieve the same result – to place her in a particular social context in order to raise her profile. It is not by mistake that she claims her alleged rape was done by someone with SFC guards? Whom was she trying to insinuate? I do not move around with any guards, leave alone from SFC! Was she trying to dupe people that it was someone much bigger?

This kind of demented psychopathic publicity stunt should be condemned by all those who seek to protect women from abuse. Women like Sheeba are a danger to the cause of protecting women because they abuse that space to promote themselves.

A journalist from NBS tweeted that Sheeba that same night performed at a birthday party for former vice president Gilbert Bukenya. If this is true, an investigation should begin there. But whatever the merits of her claim, Sheeba is a fraudulent woman who is abusing both her role in society as an entertainer and her access to social media to create a media stunt purely for her selfish aims.

She is abusing all those women who suffer that the hands of mean men who rape them, by turning a grievous offense into publicity stunt for herself. Uganda police should pick interest in why Sheeba, a self proclaimed victim of rape, is protecting a rapist.

*****

Andrew M. Mwenda is currently the Managing Director of Independent Publications Limited | amwenda@independent.co.ug

One comment

  1. For the nail…I must have walked in late on this one…. Andrew Mwenda came out and made a disclaimer not to know Sheeba Kalungi…. Sheeba Kalungi has been on top of Uganda’s music charts for as long as Mwenda has been publishing the independent magazine. So, it is a slight stretch that Mwenda does not know Sheeba unless when he’s living in a tight water bubble with his blinds on…. On his social media handles, Mwenda went into a tempestuous streak levelling adjectives like ‘a demented psychopath’, ‘a maniac’, ‘fraudulent’, against a singer who was seeking for delictual justice. Sheeba claims that while she was on her way to the stage to perform, she was rudely intercepted by a gang of SFC soldiers who closed in on her car and a senior government personality groped her body with fondling acts which incensed her to the guts. However, she does not reveal the person who committed this heinous crime…and it is partly because of this, that Mwenda is being dragged into the fracas. In his verbose rant, Mwenda claims that he was attacked on social media as the offender who was never mentioned. This is where the plot thickens….if Sheeba never mentioned the offender, what makes Mwenda guilty conscious… if it wasn’t Sheeba that mentioned Mwenda but the blogger…why attack Sheeba and not the blogger…. But most interesting, Sheeba clearly mentioned that the person who attacked her had the presence of SFC guards and Mwenda asserts that he never moves in the company of security guards..then why does he go yapping…Mwenda blames Sheeba for want of social media attention and to shore up her fading music career with sympathies…. remember, Sheeba is a person Mwenda claims to have not known. But why would Mwenda come full throttle against someone he doesn’t know and clearly against a person who has not attacked him in a seemingly innocuous act. The devil is in the detail… we all know that the SFC only protects the VIPs including the president. So, ‘technically’, Mwenda is out of the picture. The next question…who is Mwenda trying to protect…Mwenda states that after Sheeba released the video, Gen. Muhoozi contacted him…being the commander of the land forces, it is only natural that an incident like Sheeba’s would attract the attention of Muhoozi but it is not natural that the first line of contact for the commander of the land forces in an incident like this would be Andrew Mwenda who has no official security bearings in this country. Unless when Muhoozi had prior knowledge which would involve the person of Mwenda but under normal circumstances, that call would be directed to police or known security agencies or personnel. Two, if Gen. Muhoozi interested Mwenda on a matter at a private level, then, what could have pricked/triggered/motivated, or, informed Muhoozi’s mind to generate such a concern in the first place….was the good General founded on shaky grounds….. there’s much that visits the general mind at so many different levels. The SFC is an elite command of the UPDF. It is supposed to be the shinning armour of our forces- the crème de crème of the army. Its clients, the topmost officials of government, the diplomats, including the presidency. This Calibre of people should be above reproach and must act in atmost faith. It is rather unfathomable that at top artist of Sheeba’s stature, labels a grevious crime such as rape. On the other hand, Mwenda spells the doyen of Uganda journalism. It is rather a self inflicted wound that Mwenda sees himself as the person being referred to, even when his name is not being mentioned in the said video. It is a shame. But in Shakespeare, Richard lll, ‘A horse! A horse! A horse for my kingdom!’ Richard was exclaiming for what had befallen his kingdom.. it is said that during war, a knight had failed to take care of a nail in the horse’s shoe which ultimately led to the collapse of a kingdom. Mwenda could’ve eaten a bullet for someone so powerful in order to save their kingdom. But in so taking up such a short-sighted task, he’s blindingly looking away as the country is being sunk in a tragic abyss all for the want of a ha’porth of tar.
    Rajab Kakyama

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