In an emotional tale, Frank Gashumba, an activist associated with Sisimuka Uganda, took to Friday night television to explain his side of widely circulated allegations that he was battering his daughter Sheila Gashumba.
On social media, Gashumba, a single dad, posted pictures of Sheila as a toddler as he escorted her to school – an illustration of how far he has come with her.
“Do you know what it means investing 20 years in something and you end up getting a loss?” Gashumba told Spark TV’s Miles Rwamitti, the host of Friday night’s music programme, Koona.
“If Sheila doesn’t meet what people expect of her, she will not have betrayed me alone but all those people with hopes in her,” he said.
At the close of September, unconfirmed pictures of the 22-year-old socialite and TV personality appeared on social media showing her back with bruises from beatings. Another video circulated on Facebook showing terribly bruised legs that were said to be Sheila’s.
There were also reports that Sheila had reported her father to police for beating her. Several people took to Facebook and Twitter to urge – and abuse – Gashumba to leave the girl alone since she was now an adult.
Gashumba said he had received a salvo of phone calls from activists but told them to shut up, adding, “No one will love you more than your parents.”
“It is coming to midnight now but I can tell you there are women who are still in Owino working to pay school fees for their children at university, but they [children] don’t want to listen.”
“Many of you on social media bashing Gashumba don’t even know where your children are. You can’t even tell the kind of soap your child is using. You are absentee parents,” he said.
Gashumba did not discuss what Sheila had done and maintained throughout the programme that he did not want to discuss her as an individual, because she is “very loyal”.
There are reports she was going out with Skonto singer Fik Fameica and that had been the genesis of the dispute with her father.
“I’ve sacrificed my entire life to raise that young girl. Nobody loves that young girl like me. Nobody! If Sheila and I were ambushed by killers and they said we’re killing one of you, I would tell them to kill me and leave her.”
He added: “I have been three things to her: I have been her mother. I separated with her mother because we couldn’t stay together. I am the mother, father, and her manager.”
Sheila currently presents NTV’s popuar The Beat, replacing Douglas Lwanga who left for NBS TV. She also has a brand deal with Africell among other corporate firms.
ISSUE WITH MOTHERS
In what appeared to be shifting blame to Sheila’s mother for their misunderstanding, Gashumba said: “But sometimes this comes from their mothers. When I tell them [children], this is the right thing to do, [their mothers] tell them another thing. For me as a father, I give you a bitter pill to help in future, but the mother gives a sweet one and you go with that.”
“In all the schools Sheila has attended, I am the one who has been signing as a parent. She signed several deals; I am the one who knows them. Every time she gets a deal, I am the one who knows and asks her to engage her lawyer.”
Sheila has never stepped in a government school; she has never been treated in a government hospital, said Gashumba, warning, “those NGOs coming up now don’t know about Sheila”.
“I don’t have a problem with Sheila. She is very loyal. I have a problem with the people around her.”
When Rwamiti put it to him that maybe in growing up, Sheila should have had a mother figure at home, Gashumba admitted that was the one mistake he regretted; he wished he had put “a substitute” to give Sheila a stepmother.
Sheila on the same Friday cryptically tweeted: “People will justify violence until someone dies and they post ‘rest in peace’. Y’all need help.”