Fred Kajubi Lumbuye’s most popular YouTube video is titled “Bwino Wa Eddy Kenzo Bitiisa.” Uploaded on November 1st 2019, the video has 90,089 views, according to the analysis of the 413 videos uploaded on his channel.
The video is a Luganda commentary of Lumbuye attacking musician Edrisa Musuuza aka Eddy Kenzo for saying he would not campaign for fellow music artist cum politician, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine. “Mr. Kyagulanyi is my friend, but I will never campaign for him again,” Kenzo had said during a media engagement. Lumbuye broadcast the video the same day Kenzo made the comments.
Lumbuye, who seemed to be reading a written script, first gave a brief history of Kenzo’s musical journey. When he was starting his music journey in 2008, Lumbuye claimed, he went and knocked on the door of Bobi Wine’s Fire Base Crew requesting to join them.
“He was accepted as a child. He recorded a song with Bobi Wine’s younger brother Mike Wine. It was recorded for free and the video was recorded for free from One Love Beach, Busabaala,” he claimed. “The information I have is, after he became a star, he has never returned to Fire Base to even say thank you,” Lumbuye further claimed. And many Fire Base singers had requested for a collabo with Kenzo, Lumbuye claimed. But all requests were turned down.
Second to it is a video titled “Obwenzi No Busamize Bwa Pastor Bugingo” with 60,596 views uploaded on December 15th 2019. It’s a response to pastor Aloysius Bugingo, who Lumbuye claimed had said Bobi pledged to promote homosexuality if elected president.
“You said Kyagulanyi is going to promote homosexuality, Bugingo, you have smartphones, TV, radio and journalists, once you return home, sit down and listen to what Bobi Wine said. He said people have constitutional rights,” Lumbuye said.
“They can use those rights any way they want. For those people (homosexuals), he said they have rights to do whatever they want.”
Lumbuye, who was arrested in Turkey two weeks ago and whose whereabouts is still unknown leveraged YouTube to morph into a force to reckon with by attacking whoever seemed to speak negatively about Bobi Wine but also peddle outrageous lies. It’s because of his YouTube commentaries that police is slapping 15 charges on him including terrorism. Most of his videos range from 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
Always looking for more viewers
Lumbuye often kicked off his commentaries by urging his followers to share the videos on Facebook where they would be linked. He also often introduced himself as Lumbuye Fred aka Chemical Ali, a name that was popularized by Iraqi General Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of President Saddam Hussein.
Lumbuye often posted videos twice a week. And after a brief intro of the personality, his commentary is focusing on and why, Lumbuye would spend the rest of the time speaking negatively about the person. For instance, he claimed Kenzo had been bought by the National Resistance Movement and later rambled about his failed marriage with Rema, solely blaming him for the failure.
For Bugingo, after giving the background of the commentary, he described him as a thief who had robbed his followers of billions of Shillings claiming that he was going to build a church. “Bugingo has money to build a church but can’t because he fears that when the government changes soon, he will be chased.
He will return to his home country Rwanda and use that money to start a business,” he claimed. “If you gave out money for church construction, demand it quickly. You’re being fooled. Your money is being stolen.”
Titles of Lumbuye’s other popular videos include; Bwiino akwata kunfa ya Dr. Kizito Lwanga nabo abagenda okutibwa mubwangu kubiragiro bya museveni, Muhoozi akubye EC boss Simon Byabakama empi rwakujemera biragirobye, Obutwa obwawebwa Kabaka Mutebi bubizade Peter Mayega ne Museveni gabamyuse, Plan B ya Museveni ne first family eyokusanyawo General Katumba Wamala nkambwe nyoo, among others.
Lumbuye’s 413 videos had so far garnered 5,376,231 million views as of August 16th 2021 when this reporter got statistics of his channel. This is an average of about 13,000 views per video.
Though the channel was opened on June 7th 2018, the first video was uploaded on September 15th 2019. It’s a six-minute video in which, Lumbuye was broadcasting breaking news of Museveni having bought off the FDC candidate in the Hoima Woman MP by-election.
Lumbuye was first a government target in December 2020 when his YouTube channel was among those the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) wanted to be closed by Google for broadcasting content “containing extremist or anarchic messages, including messages likely to incite violence.”
Then, he became a priority target in July after Museveni ordered the arrest of those who announced him dead. Lumbuye had amplified the fake news, claiming in a video posted on his YouTube channel on July 2nd that Museveni had died but before death, he ordered his family that once he is dead, he should not be publicly declared dead until after one year.
He also claimed former four times presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye was among people who met the First Lady Janet Museveni to plan life without Museveni.
What’s UCC doing?
UCC spokesperson Ibrahim Bbosa, says they believe users are the first point of call in detecting and repelling the spread of fake news. He says they have been appealing to people to always first confirm what they come across before passing it to others. UCC, Bbosa says, has also been urging content creators to use social media responsibly.
“It’s about sensitization, it’s about building capacity, creating awareness so that users of information and creators of information can appreciate existing frameworks,” he said.
UCC, Bbosa says, has no case against Lumbuye because the police took the lead in investigating his alleged crimes.
YouTube: money, propaganda or freedom?
Peter Emmanuel who runs Tamale Mirundi Online (TMO) television, so far, the most successful YouTube channel, says that people run to YouTube to spread propaganda while others are after space where the government can’t restrict what they say. Media personalities who knew the value of YouTube tapped it, he says, when the government pushed their television and radio programmes hosts to the edge during election season. “I was working on TV and hosting a talk show.
The government would interfere with who to host. And they would want to filter everything,” Emmanuel who used to host Tamale Mirundi said “We found it hard to balance debate.” For those interested in earning from YouTube, Emmanuel says, they have to work hard to meet the requirements: a channel must have more than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours.
“Once you meet the requirements, you can monetize the channel. YouTube places adverts on your channels and pays one dollar per 1000 views,” he says. This is the starting pay. But some people earn $10 per 1,000 views depending on the consistency of uploading videos, video quality as well as the time of the year.
For Lumbuye, Emmanuel thinks he got excited about small money earned from YouTube. “Lumbuye was consistent on his talk shows because people were always waiting for him. He was unguided on what to say. He wanted to continue accumulating that small money. And to get it, he had to make content,” he sad.