ON THE WEB DRAMA: Every passing year, social media is growing bigger. In Uganda, it is estimated that 40 per cent of the entire population of 40 million people are using social media, some for good reasons while others for the bad reasons. It is in 2018 that the government introduced a social media tax (OTT) with the aim of limiting some people who were using it for the wrong reasons. Entertainers being the biggest users of social media, Isaac Ssejjombwe looks at some of the scandals that trended this year.
The Bebe Cool list
Bebe Cool has been branded the king of showbiz in Uganda. He has a way of triggering people’s wrath using his social media platforms and at the start of 2018, he released the ‘Bebe Cool list’, which became a hot topic on social media, especially among musicians and their camps. Despite the fact that he made the list in 2017, the debate heat up and stretched into 2018. On the list, Bebe Cool gave nods to artistes he thought had done well in the previous year. Among those he mentioned were Ykee Benda, Fik Fameica, Sheebah, Irene Ntale, Roden Y, B2C, Eddy Yawe and himself. The list seemed fair, until artistes Eddy Kenzo, A Pass and Chameleone said otherwise. An insult here and there between camps and fans was what it took to quell the brawl. “I have to work hard to appear on Bebe Cool’s list this year,” was how A Pass ceased fire. Bebe on the other hand, promised to release another list at the end of this year. We wait!
A Pass and Bebe Cool
If you ask A Pass what problem he has with Bebe Cool, chances are high he will tell you that they are friends and have no problem. What is the story then with all his social media attacks on Bebe Cool? If you look through A Pass’ Timeline, 80 per cent of his posts are of him throwing jibes at Bebe Cool and this year alone, he was in the lead on the list of people who laughed at and mocked Bebe Cool. From the bottles incident, the list, Afrima, Zuena’s hair, the collabo with Kanye West, the goat at Ascots etc. At some point people even said without Bebe Cool, A Pass will never have material for his social media. Oba this is true.
Zari and Diamond Platnumz break up
It was Valentine’s Day, and as the rest of the world was celebrating love, Zarinah Hassan was busy drafting a break up post. The post on her Instagram, was accompanied with a black rose and it was addressed to Diamond Platnumz – her lover and father of her two children. Zari and Diamond Platinumz were East Africa’s Kimye, so you can imagine what heartbreak they brought to many fans. The two had been together for five years and although there were signs of a looming break up following Diamond’s cheating ways, a recent kiss and make up between the two had us holding the thought. In her break up note, Zari mentioned Diamond’s constant cheating and that her respect, integrity, dignity and well-being could no longer be compromised. The break up trended on social media for close to two months.
Eddy Kenzo and Rema
This year, Rema Namakula was out to express her feelings and more than once, she threw hints hitting at Eddy Kenzo for taking forever to put a ring on it. Although the two have brushed off rumours that they have even separated homes, a recent song by Rema had us thinking about this thing. #SiriMuyembe became a thing on release and it even had nothing to do with Rema’s love for mangoes (remember juice wa mango?), but rather the song was more popular for its lyrics. In the song, Rema says she is not a mango that needs to first ripen before it is eaten and of course people got interpreting. A post from Kenzo on his timeline amid all the fuss, read: ‘I don’t care’.
While appearing on NTV Mwasuze Mutya, Kenzo was asked when he will get married. “I have my own dreams. Do not pressurise me about marriage. People should give me freedom to achieve my dreams. I have my own problems. If time comes, I will present you the person I want to marry.”
Sheilah Gashumba and her daddy
Frank Gashumba has had his daughter’s back for as long as we have known Sheilah. Sometime in October, however, daddy seemed to have taken ‘having back’ a little too literally. For all the years we have known the two, we had not heard of an incident where Mr Gashumba had used the rod on his daughter. Could it be that she is adopting mischievous ways in her 20s? Apparently, daddy did not spare the rod on his child this particular time, and although both have still not come out to tell us what really happened, Mr Gashumba had no regrets for his actions. “As a parent, it is okay to sometimes discipline my child as it is one way of correcting her mistakes”.
Barbie Kyagulanyi vs Sylvia Owori
If you needed peace in 2018, it looks like all you needed was to say only nice things to Bobi Wine and his wife Barbie. Sylvia Owori must have missed the memo. The former Miss Uganda organiser faced the wrath of social media trolls when she picked on Barbara Itungo aka Barbie, questioning if she was indeed an inspirational woman in Uganda. Barbie had been chosen as one of the panelists at the Geopolitics conference at Makerere University. In response to Owori, Barbie replied: “Sylvia Owori, am I one of the most powerful inspirational women in Uganda? OH YES I AM ONE OF THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN UGANDA HAS EVER HAD and you are an inspiration too Mama. I hope they invite you next time because I know you would fit on this panel just like a million other inspirational women out here.” The trolls grabbed the thread and for a good week, they were on a roll. By the time it ended, Owori had had her good share of memes and unearthing.
Bebe Cool vs People Power and others
When Bobi Wine became a politician, the slogan ‘People Power’ became popular. For many anti-government people, this tagline was the thing that gave them hope for change, albeit in their heads! Whoever did not subscribe to the People Power movement was seen as an enemy. Bebe Cool happened to fall victim of the angry People Power movement when he was, for lack of kinder words, bottled (the act of throwing bottles at you in anger) off stage. His crime? Not embracing the People Power movement. The incident was so worrying that the Wasibuka Wa singer was forced to hold off any public performances. As if that was not enough, the people were at it again recently when they campaigned to boycott voting Bebe Cool in the Afrima Awards. But like they say what’s meant to be will be, the singer did scoop the award for Best East African Artiste.
Podium and the entertainment industry
Bryan White is not the first socialite to throw money around but he is the first to have had many celebrities working for him. Among artistes that were signed to his foundation aka podium was Weasel, Chameleone, Big Eye, King Michael, Cindy, Tindatine, Alex Muhangi, Teacher Mpamire, Madrat and Chiko and Titus Tugume among others. These celebrities literally gave up their careers for the podium. They worked there (doing only God knows what). They wore uniforms, tucked in, displayed Identity cards and got locked up somewhere ‘working’. The comedians were no longer booking gigs and artistes were neither recording nor performing. After more than a month, they were abruptly relieved of their duties and then there were feelings expressed, beef started and as we speak only Big Eye, Alex Muhangi, Teacher Mpamire and Titus Tugume are on the podium.
Bryan White and Weasel vs Social media
After the death of Mowzey Radio at the start of this year, Weasel’s music career hanged in balance. Bryan White came into play and with the birth of the Bryan White Foundation, Weasel was frontrunner in the ‘unclear’ cause. However a few days later, a clip circulated on social media where Bryan White was seen ordering Weasel to get onto the podium – hence the birth of the term podium. The video clip spread like a wild fire on social media. The incident was made worse when a picture of Weasel carrying a sack of posho circulated on social media, confirming that Bryan White had indeed taken him under his wings. Before we knew it, Weasel was firing his manager Chagga, to the anger of social media users.