The term “useful idiots” was first explained publicly by Mukono Municipality Member of Parliament Betty Nambooze Bakireke in reference to a group of people majorly paid to execute some unofficial errands on behalf of the regime in power.
In particular, events promoter Balaam Barugahara was targeted by the not so friendly description by the former DP cadre who faulted the management of one of the TV stations for hosting people only fit for comedy shows but not important business like the one for the day.
Generally, the term came to encompass all Balaam’s recruits into the ruling side and those that work under similar situations. These, among others include; Full Figure, Ashburg Katto, Buchaman, Bajjo, Basajjamivule, Isma Olexass, and Catherine Kusasira.
These were very instrumental in crashing Bobi Wine’s fierce cyber network among the youth mainly on social media, occasionally defending the ruling side and diffusing harmful propaganda from it’s opponents.
With a considerable budget categorically set aside to cater for the group in the run up to the election period, the fate of the men and women in the category after the elections remained a subject for discussion.
Jennifer Full Figure, notable among the “useful idiots” has been out publicly lamenting she and the group have been used and dumped after she was not invited for the president’s grand entry into Kampala after his Jan 14 victory.
Ashburg Katto and the rest whose strength has been on social media almost remain useless as old barking dogs after their Facebook pages were pulled down by the App developers in the United States. And even if they still had access, the suspension of social media platforms would still be impacting on them.
For Buchaman, it’s indeed a very long story. Save for a few moments in the media following his appointment as a presidential envoy, assaulting fellow singer Rockie Giant and getting assaulted by the police while trying to defend ghetto land eviction victims are the only notable highlights about him.
Catherine Kusasira seems to have hit the hall of shame after she was named in a fraud scandal along with self exiled Pastor Mondo Mugisha, Pastor Siraji and singer Magie Kayima. The rest, only God knows.
As such, many feel Jan 14 could have sealed the fate of the group who have largely characterised the 2021 general elections which were largely scientific and needed media influencers to sway voters towards a specific candidate.
But former Bobi Wine aide Ashraf Katto refuses to agree. According to him, the group will still play an important role in Museveni’s post 2021 administration as a precedent is set on the importance of social media space in the subsequent elections.
” I don’t think whoever is writing us off has a point. 2021 has opened up a new chapter highlighting the importance of social media in mass mobilisation and that may never change. And political Mobilisation is a continuous activity. It doesn’t end with elections. So, whoever thinks we are done must be joking. We are still here,” he told Watchdog Uganda in a telephone conversation on Sunday 7.
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