Journalist’s “seer” gives him hot tips, protects him from arrest

Timothy Kalyegira, one of Uganda’s most controversial journalists, has long set off my “crazy” radar. He’s a vocal denier of the thousands of political murders perpetrated during Idi Amin’s reign, for one. Even more strange: he’s claimed for almost two years that he has access to a “seer” who predicts the future of African politics.

In today’s Monitor he has an article titled Why I no longer fear President Museveni, in which he somehow manages to equate skepticism at the power of his fortune-telling friend to belief in Museveni’s omnipotence and to declare that this “seer” has guaranteed him protection from censorship and arrest, all at once. Enjoy:

When I first wrote about the seer in July 2006, I was roundly criticised by my colleague Andrew Mwenda who recommended I check into a mental clinic, a view shared by Canadian journalist Murray Oliver of Canadian Television News and a fellow panellist on the then Andrew Mwenda Live show on Kfm.

The idea that there are greater powers than President Museveni in the universe over which he has no control is something most well educated people do not take seriously.

On December 16, 2007, a friend I had gone with to visit the seer asked what she thought was a troubled question. She asked the seer about me and how safe I was writing and on radio uttering all these sensitive things. Was I not in danger from the state, she asked?

Replied the seer, looking in my direction but avoiding eye contact: “That one? [me] They will not manage him!”
Which then leads me to a question once asked by Mwenda; how come we all write about Museveni, attack him and his policies, as you do, and you do it even more mercilessly, but you never get arrested, summoned to CID or police to record a statement, and in general seem to be immune to Museveni’s oppressive state machinery?

Good question. Over the slightest comment or news stories, news reporters, editors, and opposition politicians are whisked off to the police, many of them have been arrested and spent time in jail. But there is one person who somehow escapes all this. Why indeed?

The reasons are plain, as narrated above.