Ssemakookiro’s mother remains in the shadows
Posted Friday, January 4 2013 at 02:00
Unknown. Although Buganda Kingdom last year revealed the name of the mother of the one-and-a half-year-old prince, her real identity remains a mystery to the public.
For any ambitious journalist, the story was there for them to type away, when pictures of a jolly Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II holding a healthy baby boy popped up in the social media last January.
The rumour mill began to grind; the population started listening to whatever source of information there was to get to know who the mother of the new prince is.
This shocked Mengo, the seat of Buganda Kingdom, which seemed unaware of the existence of the baby.
But to avoid further media speculation, the Katikkiro, Mr John Baptist Walusimbi, after frantic behind-the-scenes consultations made an announcement on January 17 that the baby boy was Kabaka’s new son, Prince Richard Ssemakookiro.
The announcement would in the subsequent days cause anxiety among the kingdom subjects, who were thirsty to drink information about the new queen and her whereabouts.
The kingdom, in a bid to end the raging debate on Ssemakookiro’s mother, made the name of the queen public. It said Ms Rose Nansikombi from the Ensenene (grasshopper) clan was responsible for the young life.
But still, her real identity remained a mystery.
Ms Nansikombi, thus became a hot cake for the media houses. In the process, some media houses published a picture alleged to be that of Ssemakookiro’s mother.
However, this would later backfire when one Patience Barbra Kirabo, jolted to her feet, saying the picture in the government-owned newspapers was hers and that she had no connections with the Kabaka.
Ms Kirabo, as though it were a coincidence, dressed in the clothes she appeared wearing in the photo, she addressed a press conference in the company of her lawyer and vehemently protested the publication of the pciture.
Ms Kirabo demanded a front page apology and Shs500 million as damages, saying publishing her photos had “damaged her moral turpitude and made her suffer immeasurable inconvenience and psychological and mental distress”.
Twelve months down the road, the entire media seem to have lost the battle to secure the true photo of Ssemakokiro’s mother, probably fearing to become “victims of another goof”.
But Prof. Fredrick Jjuko, a media law lecturer at Makerere University, said in some cases, journalists have to seek consent of people, particularly public figures to use their pictures to avoid embarrassment .
“What the media should know is that some people are media shy and when their pictures are used in the papers, they consider it as derogatory. So it better some times to seek their consent so that they genuinely give the information for public consumption,” he said yesterday.
To date, Ms Nansikombi’s physical appearance still remains a preserve of her family, close friends, the Kabaka and his allies in Mengo.
Mengo Information minister Charles Peter Mayiga said yesterday that the public would have to wait a little longer to see Ssemakookiro’s mother, adding that when a child is born in a family in Buganda, it is not introduced at the same time with the mother.
“In the Ganda culture, when a mother gives birth, it is the born child that is introduced first in the family. The mother is introduced later at weddings or funeral rites and in this case, Ssemakookiro’s mother shall be known when that time comes,” he said.