At least two ruling party MPs, a minister and some regime functionaries have been named in multibillion schemes tailor-made largely to shine up the president’s rather tainted public image, The Observer reports.
The PR plot, according to sources, is supposed to counter the fall-out from the regime’s crackdown on its political opponents. Its origins date back to September last year when President Museveni spoke of some people who had asked to brush up his public image at a fee.
This followed the brutal arrest and prosecution of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.
Bobi Wine was in August last year brutally arrested with 34 others in the West Nile town of Arua where he had gone to campaign for the Arua Municipality MP, Kassiano Wadri.
The arrests were effected amidst claims that the accused’s supporters stoned the president’s motorcade. Bobi Wine was first charged before the military court-martial with treason and being in possession of illegal firearms. These charges were later dropped before he was included on the charge sheet with his co-accused at the Chief Magistrate’s court in Gulu.
The public uproar gave birth to hashtag #FreeBobiWine which went viral in East Africa and even to Jamaica where his fans protested for his release. This saw Kenyan MP, Babu Owino flying to Uganda and leading the protest from Nairobi.
The president, however, was not swayed with the PR guys and made his point clear that he is the son of Kaguta.
“They came here telling me, Mzee, these days, what matters are not facts, it is the appearance – it is the perception… perception… Really! This is how you are developing… that it [idea] is from I don’t know where. There is even PR [public relations], groups come here, that we want to do your PR. PR? I don’t need PR. I am Yoweri Museveni, son of Kaguta, General of the National Resistance Army, I don’t need any polishing,” Museveni said during a televised press conference at State House.
At the time, there were at least three proposals on his desk, each asking for billions of shilling to run a public relations campaign to counter the widespread criticism on social media over Bobi Wine’s incarceration