By Our Reporters
As Simon Muyanga Lutaaya prepares for his last day working with NBS TV, reports have emerged showing there is nervousness and anxiety on how his departure is going to impact on other station employees. There are heightened fears among top station managers that Muyanga, widely suspected to be heading for a management role at another competitor station, might be followed by other employees who not only believed in him but were actually identified, mentored and positioned by him at NBS. There are many such employees at NBS that joined at the prompting of Muyanga who started working with NBS as early as 2008 having previously anchored news at CBS radio Buganda. “Forget about guys in the news room who he brought in as news manager. There are others in very critical positions who are very technical and experienced. NBS had invested a lot in their training and well-being. These are guys who were in the core team of Nathan Igeme Nabeta who initially owned the station,” said a knowledgeable source adding that it will be difficult to prevent an exodus of such employees because they are already fearful of being mistrusted in the post-Muyanga era. “We are all humans and even the NBS management comprises of humans who have feelings and it’s not surprising that some of these Nabeta era employees are increasingly viewed with suspicion and very few will be surprised if they follow Muyanga.” Yet the possible staff departure isn’t the only worry NBS management must contend with. There are also wide spread fears that Muyanga might persuade his friend Tamale Mirundi to also quit NBS and go with him to the new TV station he will be joining. “It doesn’t matter Mirundi might even continue featuring on NBS this being a big stage but being convinced by Muyanga to also begin featuring on the new station he is joining will be bad enough. And it’s very unlikely that Mirundi will decline Muyanga’s suggestion. The two have had a symbiotic relationship mutually benefiting both. Mirundi was on many media stations but NBS was his best ever. It elevated him from obscurity and humbled adversaries the mafia group members who had written him off as unfit for a big stage like NBS. Muyanga too benefited because that Mirundi show re-invented him back to relevance at NBS TV,” says a deeply knowledgeable source. “There was a lot of resentment when he was removed from being news manager and replaced with Eunice then JB Imokola and now Joyce Bagala. Many of his protégés, who always looked at him for inspiration, didn’t like the way he was treated. How his desk was transferred to a small corridor to give way for Eunice to take over and assert herself as the new news manager. He was clearly on his way out but Barometer extra and the Mirundi talk show revitalized him a lot. The Synovate reports clearly indicated the Mirundi show was widely popular and credit went to Muyanga’s moderation style.” The source said realizing this was the case pushed Muyanga and Mirundi into deep friendship to the extent that even when one assaulted the other during the BLB Kyapa mu Ngalo confrontation, they naturally reconciled having concluded they needed each other.
THE IGEME THREAT
There are deep fears that Igeme Nabeta’s new purely business TV could be the next destination for a number of NBS employees especially those that initially worked with the former minister long before Dr. Kin Kariisa became prominently visible in the NBS business. “His [Igeme’s] departure wasn’t very cordial and don’t be surprised if this becomes payback time for Igeme because he has some good money for his new project and there are seriously experienced guys at NBS who are more than ready to join him upon offer of slightly higher pay and better terms of work. Some of them are spontaneously attracted to him and this is something top management must be discussing in their meetings which have been so frequent in the past few days since the Muyanga departure news became public,” explains an inside source. Igeme, who seems to have parted with politics to 100% concentrate on business, has embarked on his new STV TV project with enthusiasm. He already has set up three state of the art studios one in Naguru and another at Sudhir’s Boulevard building on Kampala road. He is also setting up down town Kikuubo’s pioneer TV studio ever and it’s something the down town business community is very much excited about. Igeme’s channel, which has previously attracted big media names like Jane Kasumba, will be 100% biased towards business in its reporting and will only carry politics in relation to the way it impacts on business. Being a new TV broadcasting approach, Igeme’s gamble could hugely succeed or fail badly. Only time will tell but that uncertainly hasn’t stopped some NBS employees to look forward to working with the new project whose proprietor is said to be offering much in terms of salary and other benefits. In fact internal sources say that, fearing for the unknown as Igeme seems to have a lot up his sleeve, the NBS management has postponed the staff restructuring program which they had planned to roll out in the first quarter of the year 2019. “Fears were wide spread that some guys were to be made redundant following conclusion that the staffing levels are too high. Now that rationalization has been put on hold and guys who were nervous can now be sure that you won’t have to be very good to have at least one or even two more years at Next Media,” said a knowledgeable source adding that employees who considered themselves not very good had been sleepless for a while unsure of surviving the restructuring knife. Dr. Kin is too cautious about the image for his Next Media and has reportedly realized combining restructuring and Muyanga departure could create chaos and turmoil that wouldn’t be good for the brand. The new position now, which has excited many employees, is that restructuring plans will be shelved and revisited later after the Muyanga departure storm has settled. In a recent management meeting, it was agreed that the media house takes charge and be seen to adequately communicate and rationalize Muyanga’s departure so that it appears normal before the public as opposed to being construed as scandalous. That is why on Sunday the Muyanga departure story aired on NBS’ Masengejje and the man himself was interviewed. This has achieved one thing for Uganda’s leading TV station-and that is showing the public that Muyanga isn’t leaving in acrimony but in good faith. It’s a master PR stroke because, whereas there are other underlying factors (not necessary for publication here) for the departure, the official NBS narrative is it’s because Muyanga wants to go and commence his 2021 politics early. But one thing remains clear: should Muyanga live happily at his new TV station; that is going to inspire many other employees to begin thinking beyond the very comfortable life they lead at the Media Plaza and ponder life beyond the comfort zone working for Kin Kariisa has guaranteed for many of them. Only time will tell. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.