On the 11th of July 2019, Justine Nameere was sent to Luzira prison for six months after failing to pay a Shs55 million debt to business man Emmanuel Muwonge. This was the latest in a series of unfortunate events that has befallen the TV personality and daughter to Agriculture Minister Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja. About a week later however, she was released from jail on a Friday evening. Photos shared on social media showed her beaming with a group of people. As the proverbial cat with nine lives, Nameere was back on her feet.
The former TV host has over the last six years been in and out of the media industry, not only as a television presenter but also a news maker.
She has moved from one TV station to another, had running social media battles with former co-worker Faridah Nakazibwe, dabbled in politics, and choked on debt. Her life has been nothing short of a roller coaster of events. But before all this happened, Nameere had had a bright start on national television.
When most of us first got to know about her, it was on NTV Uganda, seven years ago. She was the host of a new programme, “Life Stories” which first aired on March 26, 2012. It did not take long before Nameere rose to fame, as she interviewed several people with unique and touching stories. The show brought its audiences, unique, sad, interesting and amazing stories of people. Soon, Nameere was gracing magazines and newspapers who profiled her as a young woman changing lives and making a mark. Not only did individuals call or write in to offer support to the people in need who she interviewed, but organisations were eager to partner with the programme and do their Corporate Social Responsibility. The programme also won awards such as the Television Programme of the year during the Edutainment Africa Awards in 2012. She was on a roll.
It is why it was shocking when not more than two years later, she threw in the towel.
Her fans were surprised and wondered why she quit at a time when her career was blossoming. Her answer to them was that her manager was a bully and she had therefore moved on. Things however took quite a turn, from that point on.
The road downhill
In 2013, Nameere threw in the towel at NTV where she had been hosting the Life Stories show for almost two years claiming that her then manager at the station made it impossible for her to work there. She later took another shot at TV when she joined Urban TV taking the same idea of the show she had had before. The new show was called “Life and People” and it aired every Sunday evening. It however did not last a year.
She then made her way to Bukedde TV, a station hinged on local dialect Luganda, under the same media house. Here, she hosted a show dubbed “Minibuzz”, alongside comedian Dickson Zzizinga. This lasted for about three months.
Her reasons for leaving that station were unclear and a notice warning Nameere off the company’s premises was published. The notice that had Nameere’s picture read: “Attention all officers! Please be advised that Justine Nameere the lady whose face appears in the attached picture is prohibited from accessing the New Vision head office and Pike House. Go ahead and deny her access at all access points till further notice. For further information please contact administration on extension line 158. Thank you!”
Things were not looking good.
Away from the media, Nameere tried following in her father’s footsteps by joining politics in 2015. She pitched camp in Kalungu District for several months and when the results for the NRM primaries were announced, she was declared the vice chairperson NRM Youth League, being in charge right from village to sub-county level.
That very year, Nameere announced that she was going to stand for Youth Member of Parliament central region 2016-2021. She however backed out of the race a few days to election for unknown reasons. She later decided to go for MP Bukoto East constituency but lost the election to Florence Namayanja.
In 2018, Nameere bounced back and was on our screens again with a programme called “Omunnyo Ku makya” on Salt TV. But, in less than a month, she had been given a suspension due to what sources say were indiscipline issues and disrespect she had for her employers.
Feud with Faridah Nakazibwe
Then there was the big social media feud with popular NTV news anchor and host of “Mwasuze Mutya” Faridah Nakazibwe.
In a long social media missive, Nakazibwe accused Nameere of using fake Facebook pages to pass false information about Nakazibwe to her husband and bribing Nakazibwe’s friends in exchange for information about her.
Nameere hit back by saying Nakazibwe had started the fight because she was just jealous of her even though she is way older than her. She said that Nakazibwe started sending her messages in August 2016, that someone tried to malign her (Nakazibwe) before her husband, using Nameere’s Facebook account.
Lasting close to a week, the feud was brought to an end by Nakazibwe’s husband who showered her with praises, as a fighter, motivator, role model, a money chaser and dream hunter, saying that he was proud of her and would always be.
Nameere was however not moved by any of that. She threatened to sue Nakazibwe and demanded a sum of Shs500m from Nakazibwe for defaming and tarnishing her image in an article Nakazibwe had posted titled “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH THIS GOES OUT TO YOU JUSTINE NAMEERE” on April 1st on her Facebook page. That seemed to have been the end of that fight as we heard nothing else on that front.
Money and debt issues
There were also the debt problems Nameere faced. One of those was when she and her husband were dragged to court for failure to pay Shs53m to a one Jonathan Nsanabandi who claimed that he was contacted by Visible solutions that is owned by Nameere and her husband to provide agricultural products to them.
Jonathan Nsanabandi after delivering the products was told he would be cleared in two months but that never happened.
The latest incident comes after Nameere had been silent for a while. Two weeks ago, she was sent to Luzira prison along with husband Raymond Kagimba over selling a Mercedes Benz, which they had temporarily relinquished to guarantee repayment of a loan they acquired from Platinum Credit Uganda. Kagimba was remanded and was meant to appear on 24th of this month while Nameere was sentenced to six months in jail.
Nameere was however released from jail and soon after her release, she made an announcement on her Facebook page. In it she said a money lender was impatient with her and ambushed her with a court order, whereupon she was locked up until she paid up. “Due to my busy schedule I didn’t follow properly the application for execution and boom he was there with his order! There was no single fraud involved because we all know money lender agreements look like sale agreements, duh! Money lenders say you have sold to them what you have given as security! I WASN’T CHARGED WITH ANY CRIME, NOT ONE! I WENT TO CIVIL PRISON FOR A COUPLE DAYS AS A DEBTOR AND MY CREDITOR HE WAS PAID AND I WAS RELEASED AND MY BENZ HANDED BACK TO ME, PERIOD!”
She also stated in the post that she will be returning to the screen on August 4 on UBC. Going by her work on Life Stories, there is no doubt that Nameere is good TV material and can not only hold audiences captive but change people’s lives. But in order to get to that place again, she will have to pick lessons from all the past experiences and learn to forge a way through that endears her to audiences and not vice versa.