ANDREW MWENDA: Kasumba’s stroke of genius

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Andrew M. Mwenda
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Andrew M. Mwenda

On the night of Monday April 20th, police arrested and jailed NBS news reporter and anchor, Samson Kasumba! He stayed in their cells for an entire night. On Tuesday he was taken to his house and searched for five hours and he was then released on police bond!

Police initially claimed they had arrested for sedition, a colonial relic I successfully challenged and in 2010 the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional! Then on Tuesday police changed course and claimed he was arrested for “subversive activities.” Kasumba a subversive? Against who? Give me a break!

I have known Kasumba for years now and I admire his professionalism, his style and his flair! But also, I find him a good human being devoid of envy or malice! Kasumba is always optimistic, positive, hopeful! He will criticize because he has seen wrong and approve when he sees right! He is one of the few journalists of Uganda whose work is devoid of prejudice!

So when released, many people, especially Uganda’s political/intellectual opportunists expected Kasumba to come out angry, spitting fire and venom. They wanted him to serve them their usual diet of condemnation and hate. They were anxious to hear him denounce the police and condemn the government. They did not know the man. As I expected, Kasumba did the unexpected: he said while in jail and under search, he experienced, not torment, but professionalism in the Uganda police. He has promised to tell us about it!

Kasumba is a different breed both as a professional journalist and as a person! He is always positive, undeterred by the trivial! I have always admired him for his largeness of mind, his amplitude of comprehension and his professionalism! He never lets the trivial blind him of the big picture, or allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good! He epitomizes the best spirit!

Kasumba does both his reporting and anchoring with flair and style, adding color and fun to the news. You can watch him do his thing and you see his free spirit and his lack of malice. It is in the man. That is why he sees the young and upcoming journalists, such as Canary Mugume, Raymond Mujuni, etc not as competitors for the top spot (as many do) but as a resource to mentor, nurture and cultivate!

Knowing Kasumba, I give him the benefit of the doubt and wait for police to prove their case against him. I doubt Kasumba can work with enemies of Uganda to undermine his country and his government! He is not made like that! It is not his style, it is not in his nature! I would be shocked and surprised to be proven wrong.

Two things I suspect: Police must have either made a mistake or someone overreacted! Alternatively someone wants to undermine government by faking such charges against Kasumba!Such things are normal! And Kasumba knows and understands it. He will come out of this stronger, better and more mature!

I am confident that Kasumba will triumph over those who sought to frame him not because of his strategy but because of his personality! They thought he would become angry and despondent, denounce the police and condemn government and therefore prove that he is a subversive! He came out happy and ready to tell us not the bad, but the good in the police! Which enemy expected such a blow!?

Kasumba’s attitude is exactly that which we find in Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela! Even in adversity, you see friends to win over and allies to work with, not enemies to fight and destroy! Mandela’s jailer became his best friend because he saw the goodness in him! Kasumba’s enemies did not expect his stroke of genius and now they must be confused!

Bravo my great friend Kasumba! Now let us have that coffee we had postponed till after COVID19!

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Mwenda – is a Ugandan journalist, founder and owner of The Independent News Magazine

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