Two years ago we organised a medical camp in Kibuli. Once in a while we would tag ‘big wigs’ and invite them to put events but they would never show up.
This time Amama Mbabazi replied. Nonetheless, we didn’t think that he would show up so we made a joke of it.
That Saturday morning as we dropped volunteers, the conversation began; we discussed what would happen if the State found out he was appearing at our event soon after leaving his position as Prime Minister (of Uganda). Around this time, there was speculation that he would run for President.
My friends (and colleagues) assured me they would delete any evidence of having known me. *True friends are rare* Others assured me they would lead any security operatives straight to my home..and then disappear; if it came to that. We laughed it off.
As the event came to an end, I found several missed calls and notifications when I checked my phone. The first person I called back helped explain the situation. Amama had tweeted asking for the location of our event.
Wait. What? How? Which? There were so many questions. Someone went and picked him at the point which he had gotten lost.
Meantime, we had mentioned the camp would end at 5 and here we were cleaning up, a few minutes after 5. He arrived and we (the remaining group) talked for a bit as he asked questions here and there. It was pretty harmless.
A few photos were taken and then he left. That night, only a few people spoke about it online and I was relieved. It was soon forgotten..or so I thought.
The next day (Sunday) we had a stategy meeting at the office. I got a call from a Red Pepper reporter asking for a comment from the day before. My response: No comment.
He called again countless times. I found he had also followed me on Twitter and sent me a friend request on Facebook.
I ignored him..and I also became extremely uncomfortable.
Seeing as tabloids can make up a story in a split second, I started to think of all the possible scenarios. A political angle maybe? No money had exchanged hands but I imagined that train of thought was also a possibility. That night I made the mother pretty uncomfortable as I told her to expect the worst in the next day’s papers.
Poor woman who is always at work by 7 went even earlier and sent for a copy of the newspaper.
She didn’t need to look further as our picture on the front page greeted her.The newspaper was promptly delivered to me🙇
Story on page 2: Apparently, Amama was launching a youth campaign ‘We are the change we want to see’ campaign or something like that (The 4040 tagline is “be the change you want to see”)
My no comment had developed into a paragraph on page 2😐
To be honest, I had expected a lot worse and my dear friends had promised to deny me so..we thank God that didn’t end badly 😉