Ioannis Gatsiounis

Blast from the Past: Interview with Uganda Mayoral Candidate

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2012 at 3:59 am

April 9, 2012

It’s been brought to my attention that a video clip I did nearly a year ago has been attracting a swarm of vitriolic comments online. That happens in the world of media (especially when you challenge deep-seated convictions) and so I have rarely if ever felt compelled to respond. This case is different.

Apparently in Uganda it’s improper for a foreigner to grill a local politician, even if the said politician is accused of vote-rigging, goes on to defend the practice, and for good measure chooses to attack the rights of sexual minorities. What’s more it’s okay for the aspiring mayor – being a Ugandan – to turn questions about the stunted state of Ugandan politics into a paranoid rant about the United States, because well, that’s where the interviewer was from.

Of course it is not my job or any interviewer’s to protect such types from their own insecurities. If you rationalize the culture of vote-rigging (50 years after independence no less), attack the rights of minorities, and digress from the topic at hand into a diatribe about the country of origin of the interviewer, it becomes morally imperative for the interviewer to call you to task for it. On that count I did my part. And I will continue to stand up to politicians whose mindset and actions I feel are an obstacle to well-being and progress, be they from Uganda, the US and anywhere in between.

None of this is to suggest my performance flatters me. I see room for improvement, as I have maintained since the time of posting. But, then, I’m not interested in padding my image; why necessarily hide an off night? It was an interview that went awry no doubt – but awry for both of us, and the lopsidedness of the comments defending the equally dreadful performance by a status quo politician-cum-preacher tells us just how alive insecurity and racism are in Africa’s “pearl.”

For what it’s worth, the morning after this interview took place, the aspiring mayor’s handlers called to ask if the interview could be redone – which was to communicate what they truly felt about their candidate’s showing (in sharp contrast to the civilizationally tinged objections to the post).

Here’s the clip in question. And I thank you all for your interest, even those who chose to disagree. : )

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  1. Your interview was conducted in a highly unporfessional manner. I for one do not condone vote-rigging, attacks on sexual minorities and the other issues you sought to raise in such a clumsy fashion, and I believe many of our critics do not either – their issue is with your tone, attitude and the confrontational manner with which you chose to handle the situation.

    What you did was bait Sematimba, who rose to your bait. He in turn baited you and you bit. You should have remained in control of the interview, rather than allow it to degenerate into a slanging match during which you patronized not just the interviewee but the country as a whole.

    You either urgently need to hone your interview skills or move on to a profession better suited to your skill set. You do not come across well at all.

  2. Thank you “Showstopper” for sharing your opinion (as well as the job recommendation!).

    I don’t disagree with your take on my performance.

    As acknowledged in my post above, interviewer and interviewee both stooped. But that you reiterated the fact in your comment above is evidence of selective reading on your part. May I suggest you re-read paragraph four.

    Further, you chose in being offended to focus on the “tone, attitude and the confrontational manner,” rather than the content of the dialogue itself. As did nearly every other commenter to the video clip. Hence why a would-be mayor of a capital city on tape defending vote-rigging is roundly spared, while he who draws this point out – however abrasively – is unduly criticized.

    That doesn’t make it any less troubling or excusable, and is more than a little suggestive of where our priorities lie here.

    IG

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