Murdered Ugandan blogger Isma Olaxess aka Jajja Iculi. PHOTO/FILE/COURTESY 


'Jjaja Iculi': Who was Isma Olaxess in the public eye?

What you need to know:

  • The self-proclaimed painter and influence peddler, commonly known as Olaxess or Jajja Iculi, was a childless freestyle bachelor until his life was chillingly ended on May 6, 2023.
  • Bobi Wine portrayed his fierce critic as part of regime apologists as he sent admonitions that “let the dead teach the living.”
  • His driver, Mathias Waswa, is said to have been the only survivor of the shooting of Olaxess' van near the deceased's residence. 

As harrowing images of outspoken vlogger Ibrahim Tusubira Lubega’s shot body filtered social media overnight Saturday, several Ugandans theorized that his constant divisive remarks had a major role in his bloody silencing.

Multiple pistol gunshot injuries to his upper body, with the most lethal ones on the head, were evident through the shattered glasses of his gift Toyota Drone car windows, following the incident that “raised a lot of security questions regarding criminality in Uganda’s capital Kampala.”

“The gunshots were not as loud and scary as the ones we heard during the slaying of Minister Charles Okello Engola by his bodyguard Pte Wilson Sabiiti on May 2 in this same area (Kyanja Central Zone),” an on-scene resident told journalists on May 7.  

By 9:20pm on May 6, the man who was never fresh to controversy had been confirmed dead although the intent of apparent assailants remained fuzzy, going by a police statement.  

But who was Tusubira aka Olaxess in the public eye?

Little was known about Olaxess until the run up to the 2021 polls when a video went viral in which he captured many people's minds with savagely violent remarks targeting opposition supporters.

At the time, the Ugandan returnee from Sweden launched himself into electoral campaigns, identifying with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

Onwards, he classified himself with hundreds of local celebrities, musicians, and high-profile politicians including President Museveni and Parliament Speaker Anita Among, per his social media posts.

Once elections were finished, his close friends repeatedly say, the self-made kingmaker lifeist would now turn focus to capitalizing on Uganda’s more than 14 million netizens.

‘Let the dead teach the living’

As his social media eminence grew, Olaxess christened himself many names in addition to using his influence to throw offensives at those who risked tampering his view or condemn his beliefs- and those he backed.

“I am Jajja Iculi the cash crop, raw material, only shark in the ocean, the elected loud and clear president of Uganda Bloggers Association,” Olaxess often vaunted as he introduced himself through his daily nearly 2-hour-long mega-sensation live vlogs to his over 170, 000 “beloved Facebook followers” starting at 7am.

Olaxes had in October 2021 been charged with offensive communication and criminal libel as a result of his self-confessed loudmouth on almost everything.

“We groomed him as any child but he chose that path. He’d say whatever he liked regardless of who it made happy or sad but it was like his job,” Cate Namakula, an adult resident of Zzana where Olaxess spent his childhood and studied primary at St John school observed on Sunday.  

Isma Olaxess offered an exciting yet toxic cocktail of content for his fans across microblogging platforms using his clout, internet observers suggest. PHOTO/FILE/COURTESY

Popular Dembe FM radio host Jacob Omutuuze aka Jacob Kyaligonza Akugizibwe viewed that “what Olaxess was doing was mostly about hustling.”

But opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine portrayed his fierce critic Olaxess as part of regime apologists as he sent admonitions that “let the dead teach the living.”

“Whenever we complain about armed regime operatives dressed in civilian clothes causing mayhem, abducting or even killing our people, the same regime apologists say we're politicizing things,” Bobi Wine highlighted in an early Sunday tweet.

Abdul Omudiribada who claimed to have worked with Olaxess in Sweden told reporters that he was “mourning a very kind affectionate man.”

However, famed cartoonist Jim Spire Ssentongo and exiled Ugandan novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija differ in opinion.

“He celebrated the killing and torture of others. I still want to think that he was a hungry man not so reflective on how far the search for ‘food’ should go. It’s not easy to grieve him, but I do,” Ssentongo said.

“Since I had never responded to your mocking balderdash when you lived, may you apologize to my Mpororo ancestors when you meet them in your next life,” Kakwenza wote.

A self-proclaimed painter and influence peddler, Olaxess was a childless freestyle bachelor until his life was chillingly ended, even with his age unclear but estimated to be late 40s or early 50s.

“I loved my son so much but I can’t overturn what Allah willed. I only ask Allah to pardon him for whatever went wrong,” his Tabligh (Tabliq) father [name withheld] briefly said on Sunday as Olaxess’ body left for Nkokonjeru where he was buried at about 4:30pm on May 7.

 ‘Remorseful for pre-election video’

Despite the fact that Olaxess’ shooting rang out “a sense of fear” amongst some government critics like self-exiled Sweden based blogger ‘Peng Peng’, Uganda Blogger’s Association deputy leader Wisdom Kaye vowed to continue with expressing unfavorable opinion.

“He always spoke without fear of contradiction. I am not going to ceasefire,” Kaye said on Sunday.

According to him, Olaxess loved his religion (Tabligh) and was a serious devotee.

“He (Olaxess) recently told me that he was remorseful about the video he made ahead of the elections,” he noted.  

Admitting perceived insecurity, DJ Jacob Omutuuze thundered a warning to social media users.

“Uganda is now black, yellow and red…full of blood now. I urge people to stay away from conflicts because this life is very priceless,” he said on Sunday.

Quickly find the murders’

On Sunday, first son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba “urged all law enforcement agencies to quickly find and bring to justice- those behind the murder of our compatriot.”

“He was an outspoken and fearless commentator on national issues,” Muhoozi further eulogized. 

WATCH: What you didn't know about blogger Isma Olaxess