OPED: People Power Movement has turned into a cult

By Martha Leah Nangalama

Recently, Red Pepper Digital published one of my opinion pieces and yesterday, Arinaitwe Rugyendo re-shared it on Twitter.

I watched Ugandans (People Power) use Rugyendo as as punching bag as if they have no gyms near them. Go punch a tree if you are angry.

What I found interesting today while trying to comment on the tweet, people were trashing Rugyendo as if he is the one who had written that piece “People Power must stop using deaths of their people for political capital”.

People accused Rugyendo of writing rubbish but I was the one who had written the damn thing and my name was on the story.

You see, in media, any media outlet can choose to publish or not to publish OPeds (Opinion pieces). Red Pepper had only published my take on the recent two deaths. They did not write it. If you do not like what the author writes, challenge that author of that piece directly instead of going after the editor or owner of the media outlet.

People Poer turns into a cult!

When I set up my first company in Canada, Nangalama Enterprises Inc., I set it up for consulting services in technology. Before setting it up, I had lunches or coffee breaks with many experienced consultants in Toronto. I wanted to learn from them because this was a new field for me. And I continued to consult them and ask for their advice. I had to learn about Business Plans from total strangers who were willing to help me for free.

When I set up Nangalama Real Estate, I met with many people who had been in Real Estate (still are) to give me advice on how to manage the 57 rentals I had. Some would tear me to pieces and end with “you will fail if you do not listen to my advice and keep learning and improving”.

When my former business partner and I set up Shediac Fresh Seafood Inc., we started by meeting fishermen, seafood processors, packers and distributors and various arms of govt. What we were given was advice on minimizing risk and listening to advice

When Shediac Fresh Seafood Inc. applied for patents (we have 2 which are open to public challenge), we met with govt people, banks and finally with the lady in charge of all the research-oriented projects in our area (Moncton). https://nrc.canada.ca/en I was shocked because she was full of information about projects she had worked on. Our numbers for the RFID/GPS traceability patents were not very clear. We only learned this after she had put us through some three h of gruelling questioning. She asked for real numbers from everything we were proposing. How much does it cost to get an RFID / GPS scanner at every plant or on every boat? How will you manage the data and not have it compromised?

How much will it cost for the tags you put on each product so that they can be scanned and entered into a database and make it publicly available for the public without compromising security?…. nebilala nebilala. By the time Industry, Canada (Patent Office) approved our patents, there had been a lot of work done. By the time Canada’s Patent Office opens up your patent-pending to world scrutiny (Public contesting), you will have been put through the ringer.

Now, I look at Bobi Wine and his People Power. They likely are geniuses but I feel that they could benefit from criticism instead of rubbishing off every critic.

Do you remember FDC used to bash Gen. Mugisha Muntu every chance given? I told my FDC friends that Muntu was not the enemy. We would pay more attention to him every time you tarnished him. FDC did the same thing to Bobi Wine and so did NRM. I kept saying “you are giving him free publicity”. And indeed, they did.

Now, Bobi Wine, some of his followers try to tarnish Muntu and Besigye. This is not a good marketing strategy. You bring attention to your competitor. Have you ever seen Coca Cola saying “Buy Coca Cola and not Pepsi because Pepsi is sweet”? Then we will all run to go buy Pepsi. Coca Cola advertises their product, how beautiful, how wonderful, how it feels to drink Coca Cola. You will never find Coca Cola going “but Fanta is not as good as us, buy Fanta”. Then we will go to buy Fanta. Actually, I do love Fanta. It is my most awesome soda in the entire world ever.

Consequently, the PP group needs to learn about basic marketing. On why I criticized the poster which Bobi used for his recent trips to Canada and USA, it is simple. Rita and Kyeyune had just been killed and their bodies were warm.

Bobi had planned his trip months prior so why is it that all so suddenly, his group put out posters saying “Rita and Kyeyune”? You must, always under all circumstances, avoid using recent deaths for your agenda. Otherwise, it is seen as cheap propaganda for political capital.

Why did Bobi’s group not revive the #Kasese Massacre if they wanted to score points? We are talking about a nation which should have shut everything down to demand Kasese and here you are using the sudden killings of Rita and Kyeyune for your trips abroad to promote your political agenda (which I even support) but never insult our intelligence and never benefit off the deaths of our kids suddenly buried.

If Bobi Wine does not reign in his media teams (print and social), he risks being alienated by people who are dying for change for Uganda. We are not the enemies. We only question and suggest what we could do better.

Next time, do not use Rugyendo as the punching bag for my opinions. Hit me directly. I doubt you will survive. I hold a PhD in OKUVUMA. You can even stop being a wimp and fly to Canada and we will meet at the Moncton airport and I punch the crap out of you. Ojakakasa.

A democratic govt is only a democracy if there exists a strong opposition. A company is only strong when there is ongoing feedback on their products or services. Consequently, if Bobi Wine does not tolerate criticism, very much like Dr. Kizza Besigye, Bobi will also run for 5 elections and never win any of them.

PS: This message has been paid for by neither Gen. Yoweri Museveni nor Gen. Mugisha Muntu. YET.

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