Nancy Kacungira has not resigned her position as NTV Uganda news anchor. Yes, at least, not just yet. Another yes—you are in for some mother boredom today—she hasn’t yet tendered in her resignation. It’s an intriguing fact. You are probably wondering if I slept so badly that I turned on my baby last night so that I should be purging the excess conscience on this blog with such a storyline; never mind. There are two sides of the coin. One is that Nancy resigned last week and by Monday morning, the whole country knew about it. Well, it would take a Museveni resignation for that to happen. And we all agree on this.
Similarly, you must all agree with me that Ugandan journalists are just too sloppy. Even tabloids try to get their facts right; they take some little arthritic pain in verifying. I know even bloggers are supposed to verify these things but I won’t dip my own finger in this red-hot frying pan when I have a ladle to use to turn the pancake-heads in Uganda’s newsroom with it. Just a call here and there and KTN would have either confirmed or denied the allegations that NTV Ugandan staffers started on social media on Monday that their colleague was Nairobi-bound. But who cares? Who is Nancy anyway? If she were the signature voice of Agataaliko Nfuufu in its heyday—is that dusty news still running?—we the great tabloid writers who picked up the Nancy resignation news and splashed it all over toilet doors would have cared.
After posting on this blog on Tuesday about the Nancy departure to KTN, a hunch shrouded me. It was like something was wrong in the whole story—not my blog, but the whole resignation thing. But if a hunch has a haunting effect, then any punk should be excused for being excessively curious like a voyeur high on an overdose of Mexican cocaine. And that’s why we have been flipping the coin and staring at the tail and head for any clues to the NTV saga.
On February 7, last year, Ugandans awoke to the news that controversial bar maniac and KFM presenter Roger Mugisha had resigned his job. Tabloids and online publishers cut short their morning escapades to gang-rape web traffic with posts about Roger Mugisha’s decision to resign in protest over a decision by MPs to appropriate themselves Shs103 million each for purchasing luxury cars.
KFM would later boil the matter up with an “official communication,” saying “Roger Mugisha, the presenter of the morning show, D’Mighty Breakfast, has resigned. Roger who has worked in the industry for 16 years quit this morning as emotions run high over the news of MPs receiving 103 million Shillings to purchase personal cars.”
At the time, The Frying Pan wasn’t in existence and despite this writer knowing the inside story, nothing much could be done. But I can’t claim to know anything or the so-called “inside story” of Nancy’s alleged resignation. All we can do now is strip some facts bare and let them (the facts) shout in our faces.
One side of the coin has allegations such as Nancy having resigned last week, and that by Monday, everyone knew about it. Well, that would be an interesting HR working style. Try asking those chaps how they came to know of such a resignation in so Bolt a speed. The most convincing angle was that a management memo sent to all staff on Monday morning revealed the truth so that they get used to the departure. Well, was the management just too glad to see the back of Nancy so that she should resign today and within 120 hours a memo is passed? Even termination of contract sometime takes much longer than that.
Now, let’s assume that Nancy resigned much earlier. That she gave the company the one-month notice period and served it. And that the staff has just been informed at the end of the grace period. Yes, she is also not on air anymore, though that could as be because of the rotation routine news anchors go through. The problem is in the manner it was handled, which could make such hunches like mine sound so loud and credible that we begin to link these things to Roger Mugisha’s stunts. Only that NTV is not redesigning now. They did that recently. Not so long ago, Justin Nameere’s exit was handled in similar awkward manner. The result wasn’t that good. She ended up miffed, spewing her defence in apparent attack on Josephine Karungi. Ironically, Faith Omega Ariho’s exit went as silent as a baby’s nap after hours of wreaking havoc with electronic gadgets.
Enter the Kasyate regurgitation
But the Nancy File is real. Last night, this blog got confirmation from two sources inside KTN that the petite anchor has a deal to take her career to greater heights. Now, some of you will try to mock my hunch and whatever twin intuition I might even claim. Dare not. I am actually happy with this hunch because it led me into digging tunnels around Serena, which turned with some interesting results. You already know one, that Simon Kasyate is back to redeem himself. The other, that Edwin Musiime will cross the short walk-long journey from UBC to NTV.
First, Kasyate. This blog last time received some good bashing from friends of the affable journalist-cum-European Union mouthpiece, whose penchant for the blub when critised is as well-documented as the joys he takes in criticising others. But the bashing won’t stop us from setting forth a mannequin in Kasyate’s shape into the frying pan. Before the EU job, Kasyate worked with WBS, Monitor, KFM and NTV. He used to moderate talk-shows, largely because he wanted to be like his mentor and role model, Andrew Mwenda, but more because he yearns to be Larry King of CNN. But unlike Larry King Live, Kasyate made the one career mistake; interviewing Amama Mbabazi at the premier’s ‘Temengalo home’ but making it appear like the guest was live at Serena. It was an awkward deception, and couple it with other interesting allegations, Kasyate was shown the door. But the wise man says real men must get up a hundred times when they fall down ninety-nine times. So Kasyate is back, every Tuesday night, with Turning Around, or so I hear.
It is not clear if the EU will allow their staff to freely bash guests on a television talk-show or it is their policy that their staff can just moonlight as long as the job doesn’t get back to offending the EU. However, some sources claim that Kasyate’s contract is due to expire and a return to television was just a continuation factor. Some whispers around Serena is that Kasyate could actually retry his voice chord in the news studio once again, replacing Nancy.
But before we proceed, those privy to the show are not amused. They claim Kasyate’s Turning Around, a supposedly policy matter talk-show, is a copy and paste from UBC. That would be weird and deeply ironical. Since when did NTV start copying UBC, of all stations? Will they hit the lower ebb and get to copying Top TV? Turning Around, it is said, is a changling from Policy Matters, a talk-show which was hosted by current deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah during his days of grassing. I can’t verify these claims, but seeing that Edwin Musiime of the boring Good Morning Uganda on UBC is another name on the current NTV roaster, one can’t entirely rule out the copying bonanza.
But why is Aggie Asiimwe Konde so much into piling up the NTV human resource with westerners? These are questions that have been asked before on the social media. Last year, I defended NTV’s supposed penchant for hiring resources with roots from western Uganda, but the latest twist is downright funny. It can’t be ignored anymore.
The tunnels we dug at Serena returned this juicy pancake for our frying pan. NTV is in the final stages of launching what has been long overdue—a breakfast show. Actually, the show should have been launched on September 1 but it was postponed for September 30, before again being called off. The NTV AM Live, more like the enchanting NTV Kenya’s AM Live, would have been hosted by Charles Odongtho and a rookie radio journalist only identified as Birungi, but only if the show had gone on air either on September 1 or September 30. Aggie Konde, this blog understands, kept dilly-dallying it. Apparently, she did not want Odongtho, whose cutting stance in political matters would be “too sharp for the current NTV ambition to please the powers that be.” Konde has opted for Musiime, who is set to make the ‘still-sleepy’ morning viewers even sleepier by giving them the true taste of “watching paint dry on the wall” from 6am to 9am.
Odongtho denies ever being in touch with NTV or even aware of the planning for the show, but two sources inside the Serena-based station are adamant his name and kazigo (diastema) were written all over the current affair breakfast show. However, this blog could not get the identity of the Birungi radio presenter who is being lined up for the AM Live show. We shall find out when the show rolls out soon, if she isn’t already dropped for a better-leaning westerner already, despite being one herself.