Ugandans have always valued a good fable or a catchy proverb. Increasingly, however, those stories are under the control of professional tale weavers in the form of strategic communications agencies. It’s only in the last decade that the world’s public relations leaders have opened offices on the continent, and they are still trying to figure out how to handle this new market.
But in Uganda, one young Canadian-British lady’s stock has been moving up the “value chain” and offering high-end strategic and value-based public relations services with integrity, honestly and professionalism.
Her name is Ms Anne Whitehead who holds a Master of Professional Communication from Ryerson University in Toronto, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Development from McGill University in Montréal, Canada.
Anne has lived in Kampala on-and-off since 2009 and got ‘AAA rated’ while working as communications personnel for Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu alias Bobi Wine and the singer cum politician’s escalating popularity with the Tojikwatako campaign in opposition to against the amendment of Article 102 (b) has rattled the people high up in the power circles.
What’s become more apparent in recent weeks is that security operatives and immigration who accuse Mr Kyagulanyi of using foreign machineries to conduct his campaign in rallying the youth for power change are looking to prey on the MP’s close associates, past present and presumed.
The presence of a sophisticated communications operative by Ugandan standards on the ground like Ms. Whitehead and her past work with Bobi Wine has created unease for all parties involved.
She received a call from officials in the immigrations office on Wednesday afternoon informing her that her office and house in Muyenga would be checked the following day but they never showed up.
“What people don’t know is that I haven’t been officially working with Bobi Wine for a while, and even over the past few years I just consulted for him here and there on positive initiatives,” Anne said when contacted over reports that she was going to be deported for working with an opposition leader.
The directorate of citizenship and immigration control spokesperson, Jacob Simiyu confirmed the impending exercise targeting Ms. Whitehead.
“I should not be referred to as his PR Manager, since I have never managed him and currently have nothing to do with his PR,” she adds.
Ms Whitehead insists it wrong for people on social media and security to speculate that she is behind Mr Kyagulanyi’s current political campaigns or be the big brain behind his sessional messages.
““I am not sure why I am going to be checked. I stopped working for Bobi Wine many months ago and we have not met in a while now. I am ready and let them come and check to find what they want but eventually, they will learn that Bobi Wine doesn’t need a muzungu to express himself intelligently,” Ms. Whitehead implores.
“In time I hope that Whitehead Communications Ltd. is known not just for my past work with Bobi Wine, but for all the other work we are doing to map out the entire ecosystem of positive change making opportunities in Uganda and add value through strategic communications to bring people together to find solutions to the core challenges that the country is now facing.”
She is on contract as a writer, editor and rapporteur for UNICEF Uganda, while this week she impressively coordinated cultural exchange program, “Your Music Your Voice” for Goethe-Zentrum Kampala (German culture organization).
Patrick Bitature also has Whitehead Communications Ltd on retainer to help with several things, primarily Project 500K, a youth empowerment program now conducting its pilot in Ibanda through youth camps, daily radio shows and SMS messages to provide youth 18-35 with practical and insightful career-building education as they begin their careers.
— Anne Whitehead (@WhiteheadComm) October 6, 2017
Anne has engaged with small and large organizations and public figures over the years in Canada, Rwanda and here working in collaboration with various organizations, freelancers, trainees and creative teams that would be devastated if she was to be deported for reasons that look all but political.