In many ways, the events around Ms. Shanita Namuyimbwa aka Bad Black represent the tragedy of Uganda for the past two decades.
Ms. Black did an advert ostensibly for the Ministry of Health. We may never know what the details of the deal were, but we know that she did not sign anywhere to give it for free or for pay. The result? It became her word against theirs. That says something about how public affairs are handled in this Republic!
Ms. Black then embarked on a campaign. Initially, she thought the government of Uganda were like these other “players”.
She threatened them with a law suit- they ignored her.
She did a press conference- they released a heavily worded press statement disowning her.
Activists spoke on her behalf- their voices did not matter.
She cried out- they laughed at her.
Regime apologists were all over social media dismissing her as a desperate ‘prostitute’ who was seeking attention.
Then somehow, one night, while she was asleep, Bad got a vision, or call it an idea. PEOPLE POWER. Yes, People Power. This was the solution to all her problems. She quickly jumped out of her bed and embarked on looking for a red beret. She quickly donned it, took a picture and posted it on Facebook! Her caption was short and sharp- “I have now understood what Bobi Wine has been speaking about!”
And just like that, Bad Black’s fortunes changed. What lawyers, activists and her ‘workmates’ had failed to get for her for over a week, the red beret got for her in one day! The people who dismissed her initially were now calling her for talks. All of a sudden, she became consequential. Tax payers’ money was quickly mobilised and put in some box. A press conference was hurriedly organised. She was made to sit in front of President Museveni and his son’s portraits. There, she acknowledged receipt of her money and swore allegiance to the President and the NRM.
And so ladies and gentlemen, that is how our country runs. Professors at Makerere can make all the noise they want for better working conditions. Doctors can go on strike for months. People can be displaced from their land and their homes. Ugandans stuck abroad can do whatever they want.
But it is only that day when the regime feels threatened that they will act! There is no logic or reason; there is no legitimate claim or demand, until regime survival comes into play.
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