By Our Reporters
Renowned blogger Seruga Titus distinguished himself for breaking blockbuster crime stories especially in the aftermath of the Andrew Felix Kaweesi murder. Whereas his facebook wall existed much earlier on, many Ugandans became aware of his existence as an impactful blogger when he started serializing stories highlighting what he maintained had gone wrong in the pre-Okoth Ochora Uganda Police Force. Subsequent actions by security agencies going after and arresting perceived wrongdoers in a manner he had predicted only gave further validation to Seruga’s social media works. Then along the way he started swelling feeling that he had now marshalled large enough balls to begin throwing veiled barbs at the famous TVO contemptuously referring to him as the “Capital Letters Guy.” Being one not to go without a fight, TVO fought back contemptuously referring to Seruga as the “ESO Guy.” The two clearly had a belligerent relationship creating even more confusion in thousands of social-media active Ugandans many of whom where their shared followers. After a while, Seruga (who many speculated was the alternative blogger the Ugandan state was using to take away TVO’s shine) went into an oblivion of sorts. He stopped posting the controversial things that had him famous prompting some to speculate that his blogging activism had died with Mohammed Kirumira who he said at some point had been his source in security. Titus had last posted somewhere in September, leaving his facebook platform a shadow of its former self. A few days ago, TVO teasingly posted something that many equated to dancing on one’s grave. After being silent for such a long time, Seruga says contrary to what TVO posted, he hasn’t’ been in any detention and had only strategically opted to go underground to reorganize and “serve my country in some other ways.” He spoke out last evening via telephone link and below are the excerpts of what he told us;
QN: First things first. Where have you been for all this long and why?
ANS: I take social media to be a platform and I operate there with a strategy. I’m not there just for the sake of becoming famous. My strategy is to give people content as opposed to just writing to abuse and character-assassinate people like some guys do. I’m not a gun for hire. I do everything out of obligation to serve and build my country. I recently took a deliberate decision to be off for one month and 10 days. But now I’m back with a bang and I’m started from where I stopped churning out crime-based exclusives.
QN: So what exactly have you been up to that has kept you busy and away?
ANS: I have been doing my other projects because people here commonly organize conventions aimed at helping the Diaspora community. Depression is a big problem here among the Diaspora community and I help in managing it through sports activities. I have been involved in a soccer tournament as part of the Uganda independence celebrations in Europe. That’s the way we marked independence on 13th October. We had teams from Sweden, The Netherlands, the UK, Germany and elsewhere in the Diaspora Europe coming here to participate. Incidentally there is a lot of wasted talent in the Diaspora. I went into them and organized them into a tournament. We have children aged between 18 and 21 years. They are very good and talented from the different countries and they came to Belgium. This independence celebration was an opportunity to market our country. We have a duty all of us to market our country it’s imperfections notwithstanding. I have written and posted many things but reality remains I love my country and I always aim at exposing those people using public office to mess up our country. We had plenty of entertainment by Fik Fameika who flew in here specifically to perform for us that day.
Ambassador Miriam Blac [who represents Uganda in Belgium, Luxemburg and The Netherlands] came to preside over. It was an excellent function even NTV covered it. We shall annually be commemorating independence here. 6 teams played including two guest teams. One was of Somalis based in The Netherlands and another of Congolese based in Belgium. The Ambassador is obviously a very busy person but having been fascinated with the way the events were well organized, she stayed with us for 7 straight hours which isn’t common. She took photos with us and Fik Fameika and all that is available on instagram. She really enjoyed the event. So I have been too busy with that and yet even Rwandans have been on my case wanting to blow me up. The security here has been very helpful. They sent people here to infiltrate our work but we were too smart for these agents. One of them was actually a Belgian of Rwandese origin. So having overcome all those plots, I’m now back stronger and ready to hit even harder. I’m now in a better position to guarantee my own security in my own way on my own terms.
QN: So how do you go about funding such sporting activities?
ANS: There are always people out there who have no problem fundraising towards good causes. There are people out there who believe in me and it’s them working with me to ensure success of these events. For the Independence celebrations, we had close to 600 people for whom there was enough to eat and drink. We used around Pounds13,000 which comes to around Shs70m Ugandan money. People voluntarily contributed and we have no government money in this.
QN: Couldn’t this be the reason some brand you the ‘ESO Guy?’
ANS: Those are all contradictions; how can one same person be the ESO guy and the same guy is a fugitive and in detention at the same time? Does that add up? How often do the so-called ESO guys get detained the way I’m said to have been detained? In my case I’m a free man and I’m not under any detention center. Those ESO guy allegations are totally false. Just look at it this way: anybody who has been here will just laugh wondering what any one working for ESO would be doing here. We have a small community of Ugandans in Belgium and these are married people with totally nothing to do with political work or anything that can make them a threat to anyone anywhere. Which information do you surely come to gather here in Belgium? Having credible classified info doesn’t make me an ESO guy. There must be proof. The social media users must raise standards of this game. You don’t just say so and so is an ESO guy. There must be proof put on table. For example when and how do they pay me for the work? All that should be laid on table. Social media users should be analytical and demand for elaboration.
QN: Some social media users are skeptical about you because they find you are almost vague and politically undefined. Where do you exactly stand between say Museveni, Besigye and Bobi Wine because you can simply not be neutral forever?
ANS: Bobi Wine is my personal friend we interact often and I give him my views and where I think he needs to improve. But that is not the reason I would choose him ahead of Besigye. It’s because I find him more believable in what he says than Besigye. In fact I have never supported Besigye. I was actually one of the guys supporting Amama Mbabazi on social media and we were very and notorious in defending the values he represented. And this is there on my wall if you check my posts of 2016. When the Arua saga came up, I objectively defended Bobi Wine on the issue of having guns and stoning Museveni’s car. I came out because I know you can’t afford to be neutral between right and wrong. But most importantly, a blogger shouldn’t take sides. He should be fair to all the political actors and not be biased otherwise people shun you for a propagandist. I’m a civil rights activist and I don’t take sides. Some people have criticized me saying but how come you have never attacked Museveni? I tell them it’s because I’m civil and respectful to all leaders. That’s why there is no record anywhere that I attacked KB or even Bobi Wine. Why would they insist that I attack Museveni first to prove that I’m not the ESO guy? I have criticized and praised government where it’s due. Take the example of the ID project or even the sim card registration. I pointed out these are things even these advanced European countries do but I pointed out the weaknesses including the fact that being issued with the ID doesn’t entitle a Ugandan to any automatic benefits from the State.
QN: Why did you prefer Mbabazi and not KB for purposes of 2016?
ANS: It’s because I believed he stood higher chances to become President than Besigye because of his [JPAM’s] moderate approach that can’t threaten people that there will be war. That way I believed he would demystify fears that there can be chaos after Museveni but voters saw things differently and that’s the game of democracy.
QN: But who are you exactly? Who is this Seruga speaking Luganda so fluently?
ANS: I’m a Ugandan and not Rwandan. Luganda is my mother tongue. I’m the son of Dr. Solomon Seruga, a PhD holder who is still alive to corroborate my parentage and ancestry. He lives in Bugerere Nazigo and is the LC1 Chairman Yale village. All this is public information in Kayunga because Dr. Solomon Seruga is a well-known figure there.
QN: So what should your readers expect now that you are back?
ANS: Of course much more because I’m starting from where I stopped and the wrongdoers, who had celebrated my absence, should know that I’m back stronger and better than before. I will resuming my series exposing wrongdoers trying to infiltrate our systems as a country.