For those who may not know, cyber bullying is a form of bullying or harassment using electronic means such as social media. This undesirable vice has become increasingly common, especially among youths as the digital sphere has expanded and technology has advanced. All over the world, very many people have been grossly affected by this vice as some have gone into depression or even committed suicide. It is that bad.
Being part of the global village, Uganda has also had its fair share of the impacts of cyber bullying. Every other day that goes by, a good number of social media users continue to bully fellow Ugandans knowingly or sometimes unknowingly. The truth of the matter is; you cannot have a full comprehension of the depth of the plight of the victims until you are one of them.
If I’m to take you back, even our own President was once cyber bullied by a one Dr. Stella Nyanzi when he was called a pair of buttocks which goes on to emphasize that no one is immune to cyber bullying. However thanks to his position in the nation, he got justice as Stella was slapped with an 18 months jail sentence. This can only leave us wondering if the very many victims of cyber bullying, ordinary as they are, can ever get justice considering that they don’t live in State House.
How does Sheila Gashumba come into this? This socialite, brand ambassador and digital influencer made her TV debut as an 8-year old girl hosting a kid’s show on WBS TV back in the day. She has literally had the bigger portion of her life cast in mainstream media. Every single bit of her high and low has always found a way to be a major story in the Ugandan media. Taking into consideration the social status of her father, Frank Gashumba, it even becomes more normal for their lives to be out there in the face of every Ugandan that has access to any form of medium or social media platform. Yes, her sexual life also at times causes a frenzy on social media.
To some extent, we could also blame Sheila for publicizing every bit of her life, including private affairs. Even so, that cannot be a vindication for any cyber bullying she has ever been subjected to. The 24-year old however, is also taken by many Ugandans as a broken reed, an ananias and a character that is worth every letter in the words “double standards”. We find it prudent to note that some weeks back, Sheila, using her social media platforms went bare knuckles on entertainment TV presenters at NTV saying they only earn 50K with all the energy they put in. We cannot confirm that since we are not part of the administration at the station but what we can confirm is that her statement “fame will not pay your bills” was not so pleasant to many TV personalities in the country, especially at the station. Consequently, this triggered a very heavy conversation on the Ugandan social media and yes, on many entertainment shows like Scoop on Scoop. While appearing on her show, motor-mouthed Tina Fierce had no good words for Frank’s daughter as she emphasized that Sheila was getting paid according to the value she was adding to the shows she was presenting.
For a person that made her debut at the age of 8, worked on several shows and even got many deals as a brand ambassador, the idea that she was worth 50k couldn’t sit well with her. She has since demanded for an apology from Tina, who still remains reluctant in doing so. Still about the 50k issue, Sheila got in a very deep, sensitive, ugly and humiliating social media fight with a one Robin Kisti, a former employer at NTV. While at it, Sheila even dragged Kisti’s dead mother into the fight. To any well-meaning human being, this was way below the belt. However, Kisti was also dropping bombs left, right and center as she even alleged that Sheila started having sex at a very young age to facilitate her presence on TV.
Honestly speaking, their fight was very deep and so much at a personal level, only that every person that uses social media was watching. A question many are posing is whether this lady (Sheila) really has the moral authority to run a campaign against social media bullying. However, in her defense, one can still say there is always an oasis in a desert.
How does God’s Plan come into the mix? This young rich guy is currently Sheila’s boyfriend. Some sources allege that he accumulated his wealth using dirty means but what do we know? Money is money. The two have been together for a year plus, and just like all relationships, they’ve also had their fair share of difficulties. Much of their relationship inconsistencies have always found their way into mainstream media, thanks to the social status and behavior of the couple.
Much of these challenges have been fertile grounds for much of the bullying Sheila has been subjected to. While appearing on the Breakfast show at Sanyu FM, Salvador chipped in the topic of cyber bullying and God’s Plan could only blame it on access to Wi-Fi by many uneducated Ugandans. Now, we really don’t know so much about God’s Plan’s education background but what many Ugandans will tell you is that they also don’t admire Sheila’s education heights. This “uneducated” talk also sparked off some controversial conversations but we shall not focus on those for now. Right after the show, the “power” couple launched a campaign against cyber bullying.
This has attracted the attention of many media personalities like Andrew Kyamagero, Patrick Salvador, Faridah Nakazibwe, Fefe Busi, Daglous Lwanga and many other influential men and women in the Ugandan media industry. Many people who deem it a good cause have jumped on to the wave as well using the hashtag #StopSocialMediaBullyingInUganda.
With the amount of bias, dirt and controversy surrounding the couple, a good number of Ugandans still don’t buy the idea that Sheila and God’s Plan are fit to run such a campaign.
But a wise man might ask you; “You as the ‘good’ and ‘holy’ ones, what have you done to curb this ugly vice?” If we demolished a pork joint and built a mosque in the same place, would that stop the Muslim’s prayers from reaching Allah? A lot can be said about who is holy or not but the truth of the matter is that something serious needs to be done to stop cyber harassment. Very many youths have been sent into depression by their perpetrators, some have even had suicide attempts and many people all over the world continue to face the wrath of this unchecked vice.