In case you are an ardent user of the social media platform, Twitter, high chances are that you might be following Asan Kasingye’s twitter handle or might have come across some of his tweets. The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) opens up on why he is a fan of the social media platform, its shortcomings and his general feelings on Ugandans and social media.
In most organisations, when someone holds a high office, people always expect to see the serious side to them. They expect this person to always be tough, principled and strict.
Asan Kasingye, 55, is not this type of high profile person. The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) shows both a serious and soft side and if you are an ardent user of the social media platform, Twitter, you then my dear friend, have an idea of what I am talking about.
Kasingye tweets about police work on aspects such as roles, community policing, and accountability. His tweets also reflect personal views on particular topics of interest. However, what is interesting about Kasingye’s tweets is how he packages them with a sense of humour. Like the fascinating tweet he posted on April 5, 2019 saying, “Young people on Twitter. I pinned my numbers so that we can discuss issues of crime and crime prevention. One has just called and in a fake deep voice said “Aya basi, bwo bwo bwo” and hung up. I am a serious officer with loads of work. Let’s respect each other.”
The tweet was retweeted 1,874 times. Most of the responses to his tweet was applause for his great sense of humour. In fact, one person suggested that he ventures into comedy as a side gig.
This is just one out of the many funny tweets on Kasingye’s twitter handle. In fact, there is another one where Kasingye says a young man he once offered a lift became hysterical after he increased the volume of the radio in the car and danced like he was possessed by Lucifer, while the song Twazikoze Zawese, played. Twazikoze Zawese, is a famous local song where the singer proclaims he worked, and, now has the money.
Unveiling the man behind the tweets
Although some people find his tweets funny, others think it is a little bit bizarre that someone in his position has even time to make jokes. But the AIGP says, he is a funny man, a character trait he does not have to hide because of the nature of his work.
“I am a man with a sense of humour. That is the kind of person I have always been right from childhood. Those tweets are a true revelation of myself. I am not being pretentious or simply intending to win retweets or followers,” he says, adding, “If I was being fake or simply putting on a show, I would not have been able to sustain the flow of my tweets for even one year.”
Kasingye also disputes claims that someone else is running his account.
“Even up to now, people don’t believe I am the one tweeting. They think I hired someone else to craft these tweets and run my account. Well, sorry folks, those tweets are mine, and, I run my own account,” he says.
How he joined social media
About six years back, Kasingye often wondered what it was like being on social media. In fact, he became so inquisitive and often bombarded his brothers with questions related to social media.
“Unlike me, they were already embracing social media and would share their different experiences with me on what it was like,” he says, adding, “I got intrigued and started nurturing the idea of joining social media.”
Kasingye went ahead to seek an opinion from his eldest child, Sandra, now aged 26 years, on which suitable social media platform to join first.
“She said, “Dad, join Twitter.”
Sandra reasoned with her dad that Twitter was probably the best for him because it was a controlled media platform where people discussed real everyday issues and its users are not very abusive and loud.
Kasingye heeded to his daughter’s advice and joined Twitter in 2015.
“She even went ahead and opened for me a Twitter account. I took it on from there, mostly figuring out how the whole thing works. I became a pro (expert) in using twitter in a space of two months,” he says. ”
What he uses Twitter for?
At the time he joined Twitter, Kasingye served as the Director of International Police and Peace Support (Interpol), a position he occupied until 2017.
“While in this position, I felt that our department of public relations was not addressing some of police’s major operations including fighting against human trafficking, drug abuse as well as impounding stolen motor vehicles. Imagine, we were doing all this work and, yet, members of the public were clueless about our efforts,” he says.
For these reasons, Kasingye concluded that one of the purposes his Twitter account would serve would be highlighting some of police’s works including operations and resolutions, among other key aspects.
He emphasises that the Uganda Police Force is trying to build its image following many previous years of disconnect between law enforcement officers and members of the public.
“And, I am personally trying to bridge that gap by communicating on Twitter,” he says.
Because the biggest percentage of people on this platform are the youth, Kasingye says he tweets more on relatable experiences and issues.
“That is how to connect with them, and, sometimes, I use a measured kind of humour to send the message directly home,” he says.
Kasingye is obviously not the only high profile official on this platform. There are many others including the President, ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs) as well as his bosses.
One therefore wonders if Kasingye is never worried that some of the tweets are not on the verge of making him look ridiculous before those in superior positions to him.
“It’s not like I am tweeting vicious information, bad mouthing or backbiting anyone,” he says getting into a fit of laughter, adding, “I only tweet normal stuff with a measured kind of humour.”
His other social media platforms
Kasingye is also on WhatsApp and Facebook, social media platforms he joined in recent years. He is in about 20 WhatsApp groups.
“They are all serious groups with clear respective agendas,” he notes.
Some of the groups are academic, while others are family and work oriented.
“I do contribute in these groups from time to time, however, I prefer not to engage in any political talk. I don’t want to be seen as a leader taking sides. Participating in political talk can easily cause one issues. I would rather stay in my lane,” he says.
Kasingye is not so active on Facebook, though.
Is he a Twitter addict?
Unlike what most people think, Kasingye says he is not addicted to Twitter. He recalls a recent incident while travelling to Kisoro, a district in Western Uganda when one of his followers posed him a hard-hitting question.
“He asked me what kind of police officer I was. That, instead of working, I am always on Twitter. Therefore, when do I work?”
“On occasions one finds me so active on Twitter, chances are that I am travelling on a long distance journey or enjoying my time on either a public holiday or weekend. Sometimes, it’s probably because I am responding to concerns and questions from members of the public,” he says.
And when it’s working hours, Kasingye says he has no time for social media. It’s strictly business.
What he likes and hates about social media
Kasingye says he has benefitted in one way or another as a result of being on social media.
“I have been able to connect with so many people, and in so doing, discussed a range of issues, and received massive feedback on a number of issues,” he says, adding, “I have also been able to make some friends.”
Despite its advantages, Kasingye says that he has also encountered the ugly side of social media.
“There was a time I placed two phone numbers on my Twitter handle. The purpose was for members of the public to call me on either number and address their concerns on our work as police. A man copied one of the numbers and misused it by calling and threatening other members of the public. So, people actually thought I was the one, yet, in actual sense, it was not me,” he says.
In the end, he was forced to delete the number and retain the other, which is a work-line.
Why others need to join the social media bandwagon
Overall, Kasingye says social media is a necessary evil.
“Social media has its disadvantages, yet, it is still necessary in this digital era,” he says.
For those who are not on any social media platform, Kasingye encourages them to join at least one.
“You are missing out on a number of things, for example, constant updates with what is happening around the world and even discovering numerous job opportunities. Can you imagine that today, unlike in the past, you can get a job because you are an active user of any of these platforms? A company, for example, can hire you to do public relations just because you have many followers,” he says.
On that note, Kasingye goes ahead to advise individuals to exercise caution during their interactions on social media.
“Go slow and be very mindful of the statements and pictures you post,” he says, adding, “And, if you lack the moral authority to address any particular topic, refrain from getting involved in the discussion because if you do, people will dig up your past and embarrass you.”
A day in a life of Asan Kasingye
“I always wake up between 6am to 7am. Then, I proceed to do a few exercises. In the past, I would jog every morning within Entebbe town streets until recently when I got issues with one of my knees.
So, today, I prefer some light exercises around the house. Afterwards, I prepare myself and then take some light breakfast before heading to office which is about an hour’s journey. While on the road, I tend to check my different social media platforms for any updates including news. I reach the office at about 9am, and, then get to work.
Part of my current job includes going through different police files, holding meetings with respective police departments to discuss a range of issues as well as resolving them. I take my lunch at about 2pm. In the afternoons, I continue with my work which also includes meeting with different members of the public who have appointments with me.
I only leave office after finishing up all my work. I may leave at 5pm. Sometimes at 6pm. Once home, I spend a bit of time with my family, and have supper before retiring to bed at about 10pm. Sometimes, I work on Saturday. I don’t work on Sundays. It’s a day to relax and for family.”
His strict diet
When Kasingye told me that he is currently 55 years old, I found it hard to be believe. He looks younger than his age.
“Many people actually get shocked upon discovering my real age. I probably look like this because of a strict exercise regime and diet,” he says.
Before he got knee problems, Kasingye used to jog every morning for approximately seven kilometres.
“I did this for 10 solid years until the knee problems crept up this year,” he says.
When it comes to his diet, he does not take sugar. He enjoys eating fruits. He limits his junk food intake preferring to eat foods with less oils. Some of his favorite foods are steamed matooke (bananas), chicken, fish, and, greens. He does not drink alcohol either or smoke.