Last Sunday 19th Sep 2021, I joined pals in celebrating Hatmah Nalugwa Ssekaaya’s Birthday. Hatmah is a mother of 3, entrepreneur and News anchor with NBS TV in Uganda. She is also a show host at Sanyuka TV, voice Artist, Events MC, CEO Hatmah’s Kitchen & Cafe, BNI & UMWCI Member . In the photos , fellow award winning journalists ; Hatmah, Zambari Brasio Mukasa & Ernest Wisdom Kiyonga at the party. Photos by Catherine Sebaduka & Brian Senkungu .
NB The wedding photo is when Hatmah was a flower girl in 1980s at my Aunt Deborah Muwanga wedding.
I have never come across a woman who is so passionate about charity as Grace Kabi Regina Nakivumbi .
Since I came to know her in 2013, I not only became part of the family because of the same clan, I got to know what it means to do charity work. Couple of times we would go together to Rakai, Kakuuto on UG-TZ boarder to donate to the children and elderly affected by HIV yet other times she sent me do it with #SrAmedeoCharitySociety members an organisation she founded .
I also enjoyed her visits at my home multiple times and her smiles at my introduction and wedding in 2014 were exceptional. A few weeks ago we talked and we had arrangements of this year’s Christmas Holiday in Oslo Norway with my family where she has been a citizen for more than 30 years.
We shall forever miss you Grace Kabi. I convey my sincere condolences to the family, Paul, Fred, Mr Kabogoza, Ertzgaard, Najjemba, Mama Justine, Nalongo, Fr Paul Lumala and every one in diaspora attached to Ms Kabi.
Some people we meet in life create an ever lasting mark because of how we or they treat us. I have shared how formidable with a rare good will and inspirational character #CharlynnAinembabazi has portrayed in working relations for the time we have served together our nation. In her farewell speech, she has commended her superiors for nurturing her. God bless you Charlynn.
Day 2 not picking still but later I receive a phone from a different line. The young man introduced himself as a son to Hajjat Nakitende. And said “Who are you and what do you want from her?” I respond “My name is Kivumbi Earnest Benjamin, I am a Journalist and a Politician, Hajjat is my special friend and we stay at the same village, Namasuba Hill.”
The young man breaks the bad news; “Am sorry to let you know that mummy passed on almost 2 months ago.”
I froze yesterday while he spoke to me on phone because every single memory and moments came back to me about Hajjat.
Hadijah Nakitende, was one of the founders of The Sunrise Newspaper, in fact the architect.
I had no idea when she passed-on on the Monday morning of June 21, 2021, after being diagnosed with cervical cancer a year before!
According to a publication I have seen at The Sunrise News Website, this is her story; Following the closure of the first Uganda Airlines, Nakitende teamed up with colleagues in the Public Relations department, and with a team of seasoned journalists to found the news paper in September 2000.
As Kivumbi, in quest for publicity while pursuing my political career at age 19 during my S.6 vacation 2008 I knocked at The Sunrise door, 1st Floor at the National Theater Kampala. I introduced myself to this lady I didn’t know as an aide to Hon John Ken Lukyamuzi – The Man (Conservative Party -CP President & Former Lubaga South Member of Parliament). Hajjat welcomed and introduced me to her colleagues in the newsroom including Henry Lutaaya, Daniel Tatya and others.
I kept disturbing them since that time and whenever I would come she would ask her colleagues “Kivumbi mumukozeko?” Meaning Have you work worked on Kivumbi.
The greatest publication I got from Sunrise was when Henry Lutaaya published a full-page interview with me titled “21 YEAR OLD FOR MP KAMPALA CENTRAL” Mr. Lutaya took this photo of me while at there office in 2010 when People’s Development Party -PDP of Hon Dr Abed Bwanika had given me flag to contest, I was the party Deputy Spokesperson then.
Hajjat’s team never abandoned me alongside other loyal media houses. They ran stories about my political activities including demonstrations I led in Kampala, Arrests by Police and covered my legal battles with the State.
Surprisingly, even when I left the opposition after a closed 4 hour meeting with the Head of State. H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at State House in 2012, Hajjat never turned tables against me like Don Wanyama did. Oooops! I remember Don, then sub-editor with Daily Monitor confronted me with his colleagues at the National Theater. Don almost strangled me as he questioned me “Why have you betrayed the struggle?” Don didn’t know he would also join NRM, One time I bumped into his office he had gotten at State House replacing President Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi and I joked “Don how did you get here?” And I reminded him attacking me in 2012. He now heads Vision Group, ‘Don togana kumpa publicity at NV’
Back to Hajjat, one evening I boarded a bus to Namasuba with her and I asked her why even after crossing to NRM she continued blessing me. She answered “I have always believed in you and I believe one time your dream of becoming President will come true.” I felt like hair getting off me and I kept quite.
In 2014 she attended my wedding with Princess Scovia, brought us gifts and also gave us full-colour pictorial pages in the Sunrise.
Let me be open, this woman has never gotten any coin from me, all she has been doing is for free.
Rest in Peace Hajjat Nakitende Hadija
I have been told on 29th this month is her last funeral rites in Gomba, Mpigi.
Sometime in March this year, we accompanied him for “KukYala” visit. Brian Senkungu promised the parents of Edith Nankubuge that he would return Saturday 14th August 2021 for the Introduction ceremony. I am sharing moments of the function right from the blessings by Ba Taata at the eve of the D.day. My name is Kivumbi Earnest of Benjamin, I am a journalist and politician; I congratulate my young brother Senkungu upon making all of us proud and of course appointing me his Best Man.
Days before 3rd May 2021, I was in Soroti, Eastern Ugandan for some days mentoring a training for Journalists on Climate change and I saw a post in the Youth Coalition for SDGs whatsgroup calling for nomination of journalists and why they should be awarded on World Press Freedom Day 2021. I suggested a name of a journalist I thought can be awarded and left it that way.
What I didn’t know is, the’re men and women who are trucking my coverage and stories I publish at HICGI News Agency for years. I run these stories by abbreviated name “ E K Benj”
I left Soroti and while in Jinja doing Heal The Planet Global Organisation- HTP work I received a phone call from a colleague “Earnest you have been nominated for this year on best 5 Ugandan Journalists to be awarded by United Nations!”
When I opened my phone, I froze reading multiple reasons why I was being nominated. That’s when I came to realise that the world watches over every small and big thing we do, wether bad or good. Some times they may not say thank you or you’re hurting us but they keep it at heart knowing one day they will react.
Now close to 50 people wrote about me for they keep trucking different things I have been doing in the last 10 years and they were recommending that UN awards me with 3 other Ugandan Journalists in honour of our work. I was humbled that the best way we can know what people think of us is not when we are around but what they say about us when we’re not around.
Today 3rd July am saying thank you for the people who nominated me, thanks United Nations for awarding me, congratulations NTVs Ali Mivule, NBS’s Mildred Tuhaise, New Vision’s Gerald Tenywa & Spark TVs Jocylenn Nakibuule
The pupils I taught in 1970 when I first joined the profession were completely different from the pupils I taught in the 1990s. There was a great sense of respect for elders. The issue is about parenthood, parents have lost it. The other day I lashed out to a mother who I found bathing her 2 kids of 12 and 9 years in public. You’re exposing them to the bad people.
Now that you’re parents, I request you to raise the children in the fear of God. I should also tell you this; mother don’t make a mistake to give any money to children in case they approach you without consulting the father. As he pays school fees and other responsibilities to the children, he may not give extra upkeep. If you decide to consult the father, the child will learn not to come to you again but will know mother and father are one. This will not create mum – dad’s favourite.
God knows why he has taken almost 7 years to give you the first child. Never ask why He didn’t do it immediately.
Words of Mrs Samalie Lwanyaga, Director Star Primary and Nursery Schools, visiting Kivumbi Earnest Benjamin & Princess Scovia