The minister for information Communication Technology (ICT) who is also the government official spokesperson, is angry at the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) for launching a campaign that lifts the veil on the security forces’ diabolic actions that ultimately taint the country’s image abroad.
The minister Judith Nabakooba claims that through the use of social media, NUP has manufactured fake images of their supporters being beaten and, tortured by security operatives. One of the tenets of a good spokesperson and spinmaster is honesty.
It’s disastrous to be caught telling lies because that erodes public trust in you. Further, a spokesperson must be equipped with the relevant facts and desist from denying the obvious for the sake of it.
And it is because of this apparent dishonesty or being very economical with facts that has eroded the public trust in police spokesman, Fred Enanga. The public including the media have come to disregard whatever information Enanga communicates to Ugandans.
In fact, he has become a butt of jokes on social media and he has been drawn variously in different caricatures that grace the newspaper cartoon pages.
The Army spokesperson, Brig Flavia Byekwaso either has no clue about what entails her job or she just prides in lying and denying for the sake of it.
For instance, last month after military police officers battered journalists who had gone to cover NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu as he delivered his petition to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights, Byekwaso alleged that the journalists assaulted some officers and therefore the army had responded to provocation.
Later she said journalists should properly wear their media tags to avoid being confused with NUP goons!
She did not find it important to put the matter in proper context. But a day after, her boss, the chief of defence forces (CDF) General David Muhoozi , embarrassed her when he called a press conference and apologized for the unethical conduct of the soldiers.
They even purportedly tried and sentenced the officers who had beaten the journalists. So why did Byekwaso find it useful to defend the indefensible and lie about the obvious! Nabakooba’s complaint is misguided. It is not NUP that deploys gun-toting men to abduct people in broad daylight. It is not NUP that maims young men who are associated with the opposition.
It is not NUP that manufactures images of boys whose arms have been broken. In fact, the government propaganda machinery is very uncoordinated. At the height of kidnaps and disappearances of people, all security forces, including police denied knowledge of such macabre events.
Even the minister of Internal Affairs could not authoritative tell parliament where the kidnapped people were kept. It was much later that the presidential advisor, Gen Proscovia Nalweyiso admitted that security forces had some of the missing persons. The minister seems to like to cling on excuses instead of acknowledging government’s wrongs.
Further, in the past when she was a police spokesperson, she could afford to lie because social media and other forms of communication were not as robust as they are today. The government image polishers attempt to hide an elephant under the bed.
It is too big to fit. What they need to do is to advise their government to do the right thing and then the alleged lies by NUP will fall on their faces. And the solution also does not lie in suppressing the press, switching off the internet and hacking certain unfriendly online accounts.
A leopard cannot be mistaken for a goat even if it hides its skin spots. The government spokesmen need to honour and respect the intelligence of Ugandans.