Right around this time in the year 2014, Uganda forked out $60, 0000 of tax payers’ money, to an American PR firm, Mercury, to sanitize our image on American soil. That was in the wake of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
While our politicians openly rebuffed the US’s opposition to Uganda’s law against the LGBT community as a mere attempt to impose Western culture on Ugandan citizens, the government’s move to pay such an amount just to clear its image said otherwise.
That chapter is well over. Many a sunset have come and gone. The topic has been shoved to the back of many a mind. Elections and anything that has got to do with them has more or less become our preoccupation.
If it isn’t sole candidature of NRM’s Museveni, it is the struggle for party leadership in one of the other political parties. UPC, FDC, DP…name it. All have had turbulent times recently that clearly showed all is not well as far as party leadership goes.
And as of recent, the debate has moved on to Hon Amama Mbabazi’s bid for presidency. It is now written in black and white; Hon Amama Mbabazi wants to be the rightful owner of the highest office in the land.
Finally, he said what he said he would say for months leading to his loud and clear revelation. As expected, the revelation sent tongues wagging in all corners in this country.
While everyone with a mouth has had something to say about the revelation it is no brainer all our eyes and ears turned to those in the NRM government to see what their reaction is to the whole situation.
It is in the reaction of the government’s mouthpieces that I found a problem. And a cause for concern.
Despite the fact that there’s barely a new revelation on the part of the way government reacts to potential opposition (Besigye most especially and Dr Kiyingi as of recent), I still found a cause for concern.
Put aside the gallantry in service to this country. The loyalty to serving Ugandans. The responses of the handful of men and women paid using taxpayers’ money to inform the country of any developments make me think we should (as a country) chuck our meagre shillings to local private firms to handle the country’s image or do as the government did last year and outsource the function to a foreign firm.
When the responses haven’t been rabid, they have been uncorroborated and come off as not thought through. And when have they never been laced with threats? Threats to fend off any opposition with all means available are not news.
The worst of all is cases where different government mouthpieces have said a mouthful of totally different things all hammering home one point and as well gone on to rebuff the statements of one another publicly.
Need I mention how the president himself has always spoken without any regard of respect for his opposition, calling opposition figures all sorts of names?[related_posts]
And this is all happening in the era where image is everything. Be it a public organisation (wherein the biggest public organisation in the land; the government is terrible thus far) or a private firm.
Who is in charge then? Who is coordinating the uncoordinated statements? Someone must be held accountable for how the government looks and sounds not just for our sake as locals but for our face as Ugandans before the rest of the world.
We cannot continue looking foolhardy before the rest of the world.
Make noise about stability and democracy then breathe down the necks of any potential opposition to the country’s leadership via the different PR offices in government.
We must clean up the government’s PR machine.