By Mulengera Reporters
Besides President Museveni and his family whose victimization has culminated into veteran journalist Joseph Kabuleta getting caged, there are others he has mercilessly bashed and made to weep over the years and some of these might be celebrating his woes now.
They include ex-FUFA President Lawrence Mulindwa who he initially worked with but bitterly fell out later. As sports sub editor at New Vision with a very popular weekend column, Kabuleta had participated in bringing Mulindwa to office replacing Dennis Obua who the Kabuletas demonized leading to his ouster.
When he took office, Mulindwa rewarded Kabuleta by making him head of FUFA publications committee since he was a good writer with a massive following and readership. It was in that capacity that Kabuleta presented his budget required to produce the FUFA magazine to showcase what the new post-Obua leadership intended to do differently. Mulindwa, who apparently preferred an informal relationship, objected saying this was a lot of money. Kabuleta felt this was betrayal and that became the genesis of their fallout which saw him author countless articles, using his New Vision column, bashing Mulindwa. He unmasked many things he had come to know as he worked closely with Mulindwa as a close confidante. He went as far as criticizing the man for wearing extra-large (oversize) suits. Otherwise his influence on Mulindwa had originally been enormous to the extent he was among those who advised the removal of Egyptian Coach Mohammed Abbas on grounds he was too independent-minded and would cause Mulindwa problems.
Mike Ezra is another public figure that faced the Kabuleta wrath. Initially as USPA president, Kabuleta had marketed Ezra to the USPA fraternity as a wealthy man who was going to bankroll the association. He gave them the impression this man had offered a blank cheque for the sports press association. He became Ezra’s right hand man overseeing even his media conferences which were frequent to ensure every philanthropy Ezra extended got maximum coverage. The two, however, fell out badly and Kabuleta once again used his pen and NV column to tell the world how unreliable and bad-mannered Ezra was. He outed numerous pieces undressing the sports philanthropist arguing, as one who knows him deeply enough, there wasn’t a better person to open the eyes of the world on how dubious the so-called generous tycoon was.
More recently, Kabuleta also turned to his former boss Robert Kabushenga and turned him into his punching bug. He accused him of lots of things including intrigue. Knowledgeable sources say there are a number of reasons why Kabuleta was uncomfortable with Kabushenga. Firstly, sources say, on getting feedback from the public that the anti-Mulindwa missives were becoming too many and personal, Kabushenga forcefully ordered a stop in the publication of such vindictive articles in Kabuleta’s column. As CEO, Kabushenga was also faulted for not using his discretion properly to prevent Louis Jadwong from over fronting younger journalists like Fred Kawesa to replace him as Sports editor at NV as he left the headship of the sports desk to go and oversee digitalization of the Vision Group operations.
Jadwong was seen to be sidelining more experienced peers like Kabuleta in favor of less prolific ones like Kawesa. In his weekly rant recently, Kabuleta undressed Kabushenga in what left many wondering why hit one’s former boss below the belt like that. He wondered why NV, a national paper, was stooping as low as publicizing Bugingo’s marital woes instead of leaving that to the tabloid sections of the Ugandan media. As usual, Kabushenga kept quiet preferring the contempt card to which he always subjects many other foes like Frank Gashumba and Tamale Mirundi.
Earlier this year, Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo succumbed to pressure from Pentecostal elders like Joseph Serwadda and insisted on implementing the new religious policy requiring every pastor to have a diploma in theology, audited books of account and other requirements to comply with corporate governance. Kabuleta, himself a pastor, was among those who considered these requirements prohibitive, subjective and unnecessary. He teamed up with like-minded pastors like Aloysius Bugingo and bashed Lokodo like he wasn’t even a minister in the GoU. This prompted one old acquaittance of his (during a casual conversation) to confide in Mulengera News that Kabuleta had always been anti-authority.
Closely related, using Bugingo’s Salt Media platforms, Kabuleta in the same period unleashed lots of verbal artillery onto Ps Serwadda whose secrets he unmasked. He went as far as questioning Serwadda’s grasp of the holy scriptures and wondered whether it was biblical to criticize small upcoming churches, while calling on them to comply with Lokodo’s policy, in the manner Serwadda was preaching. He even granted many media interviews accepting to be on record bashing Serwadda and his man Lokodo. Love him or hate him, Kabuleta (a former seminarian) is eloquent, well-read and very intelligent.
But some claim the manner in which the man from Bunyoro was herded out of the NV sports desk job left him disgruntled and condemned him to hard life. That his expected fallback position was the very popular sports show he had with Mark Ssali and Allan Sekamate on WBS TV. The trio would dissect global and local sports of the week for millions of viewers over the weekend. However, this deal also went under shortly after the NV debacle after developing disagreements with WBS proprietor Wavamunno who sought to alter the revenue-sharing agreement. The trio came with their sponsorship money from corporate companies and suggested a revenue-sharing agreement which management agreed to but on inquiring into the details, Wava felt the trio was taking too much. He revised it downwards, which they rejected and he urged them to move on.
As he pondered his next move, Kabuleta got in touch with Ps Elvis Mbonye who urged him to join church ministry saying he majorly had three factors going for him-flamboyance, deep understanding of the biblical scriptures having learnt a lot in the Catholic seminary and the power of eloquence. That is how he became a full-time church minister with church services in Lugogo. Indeed, given Mbonye’s strong support for President Museveni and his NRM government, many are wondering how his protégé Kabuleta can be so vicious against the same NRM establishment without Mbonye gagging him.
Whatever it is, knowledgeable sources say, by arresting him in the manner they did the Museveni state has played into Kabuleta’s trap. His detention has generated lots of publicity locally and globally with some international media agencies beginning to draw parallels between Uganda and the rogue regime running North Korea. There has also been growing solidarity with big name lawyer Erias Lukwago offering free legal services and his political partner Kizza Besigye offering to be Kabuleta’s witness for whatever the Ugandan state will be charging him with.
Some say Kabuleta is so daring he wouldn’t mind political martyrdom if that can result into everlasting publicity for him and family. How it all ends, only time will tell but what remains clear is that Kabuleta (who could end up getting asylum abroad) is in this for conviction and not because he wants to popularize himself and get elected to a political position (just like Stella Nyanzi). (For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755 or email us at email@example.com).