Desire Luzinda is not new to the world of making headlines, but for a long time, it was tabloid and gossip pages. In recent months though, the trend seems to have changed with the singer landing in several mainstream news outlets for all the wrong reasons. If it is not her leaked nude pictures, it is debt, if not another arrest. They just keep coming.
One may be wondering about the choices the curvaceous singer makes. What makes her personal life take centre stage despite her valiant efforts to be known for her music?
John Nsimbi, who goes by the stage name Emperor Orlando, and is Luzinda’ s old friend, says recent events do not really call for an analysis of the curvaceous singer’s behaviour. “Desire is a celebrity yes, but she is also like any other person, things like these happen to many other people, it is just unfortunate that everyone happens to know her name and when it happens to her news travels,” he says.
By “it”, he is referring to the now infamous Luzinda nudes which he calls a byproduct of love gone sour. “The other party fully aware of the impact of any information leaking seeing as she is well known will always go for the easiest target, by releasing sensitive details, making her the talk of the town,” he said.
Ditto for the matter of the paternity dispute mid last year when Juma Seiko came up claiming to be her 10-year-old daughter’s father. “Paternity contests and issues are the order of the day. Some people are even taking them to the courts of law, but when it happens to Desire, it is becomes a matter of public interest, that is the only difference, otherwise, such matters are quite common,” continues Nsimbi.
He is of the view that some people who get close to Luzinda remain aware of her celebrity status, and sometimes use it against her if she falls out of their favour. For example, the debt issues that have resulted into her most recent run in with the law. “People owe money, even larger amounts. The creditors will lay claim the best way they can, and even be quite patient. But if someone is constantly in the news, what do you they do? They go to the news hoping it will help their claims,” he says.
She always wanted to be a star
It was never a secret that Luzinda nursed stardom dreams, even before launching her first song. “She used to come to the studio singing and tell me one day she will be a famous musician,” says Moses Lubulwa aka Chopper who co-hosted an entertainment show with Luzinda on WBS. It was a much younger Luzinda he knew back then in the 2000s.
He will not reveal her age, laughing dismissively when prodded.
“She wanted to be a star and even exactly what kind of star. One whose fame went beyond Uganda’s borders,” continues Lubulwa who admits he was a little sceptic on the whole finding stardom thing at first.
But he says even then he saw some traits that hinted that she would actualise her dreams- ambition, aggressiveness and tenacity.
According to Lubulwa, what she has achieved now is not close to where she wanted to be. She wanted to be bigger than a few headlines, he says.
Notoriety though was never her goal. “The Desire I know would be sad about it. I did not think she wanted to get the attention from bad things,” he explains.
Still, he sees the attention she is getting now as a sure sign that she is well on her way to stardom. “It is a sign of what she will be,” he says.
Is it a case of too much trust?
Desire has been described as a trusting nice person. Those who vouch for her say she is the last person you would expect to court scandal. She is not in the business of exchanging words and will often keep quiet rather than get into something of the sort. “You have seen it even when the tabloids write about her, she rarely responds,” says Lubulwa.
How an uncontroversial person ends up getting a chain of bad news then is the question.
Both friends seem to tie the recent batch of problems to Franklin Emuobor, whom they say Luzinda trusted explicitly as a woman in love would.
“She had no way of knowing whether he had ulterior motives. Sometimes, these West African boys are sharp, they can come convince a woman they are something they are not, spend a lot, while they have another agenda. When he achieves it, he bolts and leaves the poor woman to face the consequences. It has happened to several women around,” says Nsimbi.
Lubulwa thinks Emuobor was poisoned by rumours and reacted in anger, but that only explains the nude photos. What about the debts? He finds it hard to accept Luzinda ran in debt.
“She does not have money troubles. I think it is still linked to the boyfriend. It is possible he obtained money through her. Desire would not have money trouble. In any case that amount is not even that big,” he says adding that even back then before finding fame, she was quite comfortable. “She was driving, and had some money to spend,” he adds.
Lubulwa will not admit that maybe the singer could benefit from choosing her men better in the future, or at least be less trusting. “We used to joke back then that she could never date a man who rides a boda boda. Range Rovers used to drop her, but the truth is, those men were just pursuing her. She is a beautiful woman. I have seen her love a person, not for money, true genuine love and she loved that man wholly. She is the kind of person who does not hold back,” he says.
Both friends are in agreement when it comes to where the blame for Luzinda’s troubles falls. Not on the singer whose only fault is being beautiful, trusting and famous a lethal combination if there ever was one. But on the people who enter her life seeking a thrill ride with a celebrity even when on her part she is just being a woman in love.
Are Desire’s misfortunes a blessing in disguise?
Towards the end of last year, I happened to be a regular on the party circuit. The parties were different, from a fashion event to a couple of corporate events. The common factor though was Desire Luzinda as she was one of the performers in all of them, and she is one of those who roused some excitement too. By the end of the season her song Kitone had become an ear worm for some people.
This should not be strange considering it was December and hence party season, also known as artistes pay day. Still Desire was not the artiste you saw at several events within days of each other during the previous years. Despite her years on the market, this level of demand was unprecedented on her record.
This was not long after the nude photos leaked and the feud between her and ex-boyfriend Franklin Emuobor became public news. Rather than bury her, the controversy seems to have only made her more desirable to speak.
And as it would appear, not just within Uganda’s borders but even in neighbouring countries. Last month she shared pictures as she headed to Congo Brazzaville to perform Kitone. It may not be the wild success say Chameleone enjoys, but for an artiste who was known for a long time more for the men she dates and being forever 25 than her music, it is something.
The more publicity she gets, never mind that it is linked to scandal, the more famous she gets. A squeaky clean Desire does not seem to sell. One with drama on the other hand, people cannot get enough of.
When Luzinda set out to hold a concert at the Serena last year, she may have been seeking to throw her hat in with the big boys and girls. The show didn’t do wonders and landed her in debt that caused lots of her troubles. But the trouble turned out a blessing in disguise and should she decide to hold a concert again, she will be smiling to the bank.
Bad October: Things went haywire for the singer at the end of October last year when she was cornered by bailiffs and taken to Central Police Station over a Shs17m debt. She claimed she had borrowed the money on behalf of her Nigerian ex, a one Franklin Emuobor and he fled.
The Nude photos: Franklin responded by leaking her nude images that went viral on social media. Desire lay low for a while until she returned on the social scene with a new song Ekitone (gift), a provocative song saying she was gifted that everyone linked to her previously leaked nude photos. She made good money on the performance circuit but she was recently arrested again over another debt of over 20m that she owed Cavendish University lecturer Jimmy Alemiga.