I was amazed by the comments made by Prosper Namara about me in regard to what I wrote about the Red Pepper and I have been compelled to make a rebuttal lest people may think that what Namara wrote is beyond reproach.
My brother Prosper Namara, what a waste of a good name that you hold. I had chosen not to respond to your comments but I later realised that you may be deluded into thinking that your comments were too sophisticated for me to respond to. To begin with, I guess that you could have been hired by the Red Pepper to respond to me or you are on their payroll. May be I am wrong! On the assumption that my guess is right, if you were hired, I don’t think you did a good job. If you are on their payroll, please advise the entire management and editorial team of the tabloid to style up.
You reason that because the Tabloid sell more copies than many papers, therefore, Ugandans want to read such crass. Sorry my brother! I doubt whether you love terrorists. Personally, I don’t but I must assure you, if there was a story that terrorists are about to attack, I would be the first person to pick interest in the story. I can authoritatively assure you that Professor Bukenya buys and reads the Red Pepper daily not because he likes it but because he wants to know the nonsense the paper writes about him.
I was in jail on 20th August 2009 when the Red Pepper published a story about me by a reckless reporter Johnson Taremwa. But all my friends who heard about it bought the paper not because they liked what was written about me but they needed to know what was written about me.
I don’t know whether brother Namara, you are a journalist but you should know that there’s a common cliche by journalists that when a dog bites man, it is not news but when a man bites a dog it is news. Thus, not all news is good news. I don’t know how you would feel if everybody tried to pry into your private life but I am sure that even Vincent Nuwagaba who is a terrorist wouldn’t want his privacy to be infringed.
You say, Bukenya was photographed publicly, how many people have photographed Red Pepper journalists when they are doing their funny stuff.
It is not long ago when a Managing Director of some leading Telecommunications company went and had sex which was recorded with one of the employees – a girl whom I know very well. Red Pepper was given the story. Ask them why they never ran it?
I don’t know whether you meant that Red Pepper ran a story to correct the false one published about me. But again you say that Red Pepper didn’t publish my rebuttal because they knew their story was true. Please seek information and you will get it. You have no right to remain as informed as a peasant. You can look for the paper, it was published on 20/08/2009 and you will also prove whether or not the story was true. Firstly, I have never applied for a Master of Law scholarship because I did Social Sciences and at Makerere I couldn’t do a Master of Law when I had no Bachelors of Law. The only Masters course I could do is Masters of International Law which is not offered at Makerere.
Secondly, I needed an admission letter and the person in-charge was Vincent Ekwang – the Deputy Registrar in charge of admissions. I didn’t talk to that yellow journalist Johnson Taremwa but he attributed statements to me by putting them in inverted commas. As to whether I should have sued them, I don’t think for every wrong I shall run to court. I also know that it is not prudent for me to start court battles with media houses. Besides, I genuinely like the Red Pepper proprietors and I will never at any time become an enemy to them. I am not sure whether they would be interested in being an enemy to me either. You also need to know that I enjoy good working relations with some of them. I know Prosper Namara you are not one of the directors of the Red Pepper but you are mourning more than the bereaved. Sorry dear!
You say Bukenya is not a clean person and his life has been embroiled in scandals. You feel you have the latitude to condemn Bukenya because we don’t know you. Otherwise what you do could be much more shameful. Please, read the Bible, Romans 3:23. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. If Red Pepper is to be trusted I urge the management to publish stories about all the generals starting from Museveni; let them show us businessmen who don’t pay taxes; let them be a voice of the voiceless Ugandans – students who cannot go to university because higher education has been made a preserve of a few; peasants whose wives die in labour wards because of inadequate drugs and equipment but also because doctors are not facilitated and motivated; policemen who sleep in a huge tent right behind CPS and are even deprived of conjugal rights because they have no means; teachers who are paid Sh260,000 when their monthly expenditure exceeds Sh 1million; peasants whose children no longer take sugar; no longer wash their clothes and are living by providence. Short of that many of us will remain convinced that the Red Pepper is a mercenary paper whose job is to extract taxpayers’ money from politicians to destroy their rivals. The Red Pepper must stop pedaling destructive rumours and half-truths and engage in development journalism. I am sure the loving and merciful God will still forgive them.
Finally, Mr Prosper Namara you can approach me for lectures on journalism. I have taught many journalists in university and outside and I am still ready to teach more. For anybody to write words like silly about me I find that uncouth. I am not silly and I cannot do any silly thing. In any case I don’t know whether a silly man’s comments should attract a response from very intelligent people like Prosper Namara. For your information I am one of the philosopher Kings Uganda has if you didn’t know me take trouble to know me. For God and my country.
Vincent Nuwagaba is a human rights defender