President Museveni this week “dropped a cabinet bombshell”, as reported in certain sections of the media, releasing the long awaited list of cabinet nominees.
Within minutes, social media was awash with complaints, congratulatory messages, jokes and memes almost in equal measure, about the surprises in the various appointments, and the apparent absence of correlation between several new ministers’ previous experience and the ministries they’d been nominated to head.
The hashtag #UOTCabinet was trending nationally within a few hours, and actually made for an interesting read.
Seeing that many Ugandans don’t know how to use Snap-Chat, a Minister in charge of Snap-Chat would be a good addition.#UOTCabinet
— Pison Nagaba (@blessed_pison) June 7, 2016
— The Other Guy (@duncanbuldanz) April 20, 2013
— Faith Liam Mulungi (@Omulungi_Hawt) June 7, 2016
Expectedly, I was keen to see who the new Minister of ICT was. As a quick refresher, I’ve collaborated with the Ministry of ICT for most of the last 6 years, specifically, in the time I was Editor of PC Tech Magazine, and even more when I became the Secretary General of the ICTAU.
But my engagement with the Ministry had been somewhat retarded since the appointment of Hon. Eng. John Nasasira as the ICT Minister. He did not respond to our (ICTAU) initial request to meet him following his appointment; and various postponements and cancellations meant we were never able to have a meeting with him in the time he served as the Minister. Not even when we were invited to contribute to their 5-year ICT Masterplan. But that’s a story for another day.
With much surprise, I noticed that the Honorable Frank Tumwebaze, was listed as the “Minister of information, ICT & Communications.” Yes, you read it right: Information, Information and Communications Technology, and Communications. Something didn’t read quite right about the title – and it was soon pointed out that this was a result of merging the Ministry of Information and National Guidance with that of ICT. This too, is a story for another day.
A colleague quickly said, “isn’t Frank the guy who was advocating for social media shutdown?” And everyone said, in chorus, “of course”. It sounded obvious.
In case you’re not up to speed, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze has been the Minister for “Presidency and Kampala City” (two offices?) and supervised the impeachment of Kampala City Lord Mayor, Elias Lukwago, with video (you can watch it at the beginning of this article) suggesting he blatantly ignored a court order to stay the process.
There are also allegations that the councillors who voted to impeach the Lord Mayor had been bribed.
So we generally have his record. Roughly.
And with that kind of background, I didn’t feel the need to think so hard about it before deciding to tweet him. Not really to congratulate, but to shine the spotlight over the new appointee, who, by all indications, was at the time busy celebrating and/or simply responding to congratulatory messages from his supporters.
— Albert MUCUNGUZI (@albertmuc) June 6, 2016
We were still discussing whether or not he would care about potentially being trolled online when another colleague pointed out that if he got a highly-engaging tweet, he would definitely read it. Numbers were soon thrown around about possible number of retweets.
Notably, my tweet had information that may or may not be correct. That the new Minister of ICT advocates(d) for Social Media shutdown. It was intentionally posted unverified to create an opportunity for him to clarify. He never.
Of course, I wasn’t holding my breath.
Just like I wasn’t holding my breath to get 80 retweets and likes combined.
Later in the night, someone else noted that there was a typo in his bio that might reveal a thing or two about what to expect. So I checked that out and realized that Parliament had been incorrectly written as Parlaiment. It was still the same as it had been since he first created the account in 2014. Yikes!
He was tagged in my tweet. So it’s highly likely he saw it. Is it true he advocates for social media shutdown? Yes. Until he denies it. Does that make him a good communicator? How about his inability to correctly spell his workplace? What does that say about the man?
Well, maybe, just maybe; he isn’t the right man for the job!