In the last eight years Uganda has witnessed more than 10 female celebrities become the subject of nude picture scandals. Some are looking for fame to add to the fame they already have, others are exploited by bad people.
In January a female TV personality who appeared in a sex tape was promptly sacked from her role as news anchor and reality TV host on local channel Bukedde TV.
It was rumored that her ex-boyfriend's lover and former colleague at the media house where they all worked at the time leaked the video.
Last year popular Ugandan Musician Desire Luzinda saw her nude photos appear all over social media and it is rumored her ex-lover leaked them. Desire had dumped him shortly after he had spent huge amounts of money putting on her show at the Serena Hotel in Uganda's capital, Kampala.
Desire's concert hire fee reportedly went up by almost three times after the leak.
Then on May 21 Anita Kyarimpa, popularly known as Anita Fabiola, the host of a reality dating TV show Be My Date on Nation Media's TV channel NTV Uganda, had nude photos leaked onto social media. Some tabloids have claimed an ex-boyfriend as the source of the leak, with others suggesting Anita herself leaked them in search of extra popularity.
However, in a Whatsapp chat screenshot believed to be between Anita and a friend, Anita — also a model and a student — stresses she never sent the pictures to anyone and that they were on her phone when it got stolen.
‘This tarnishes our brand image and value’
When the pictures leaked the public waited to see what NTV Uganda would do and on 26 May Anita announced on her show's Facebook page that she had resigned, sparking shock.
Dear Fans, I wanna thank you for the support you gave me from day one. I have learnt a lot and enjoyed our journey together. The last week hasnt been easy, no woman would like to show their body to complete strangers. Much as I am a victim, I feel like I let you all down as I result I have decided to take a media break as I deal with the humiliation. Am resigning from my job, I have so much respect for NTV and I can never thank them enough for the opportunity. Please keep, watching and supporting the show. Again am sorry, this was never intended for the public. You might see me in Studio 256 but those episodes were already recorded, am strong but am also human. It doesn't matter how many times you fall, it's how you get up. I hope to get up stronger. Remain Blessed, Anita Fabiola
Later in the day a letter from NTV Uganda Human resource manager, Solomon Muhirwa, leaked on social media, indicating Anita was forced to resign.
The letter read:
This is to notify you that Anita Kyarimpa a.k.a Fabiola has been asked to resign her position as Presenter(Be My Date). This she has done and it takes immediate effect. The reason emanates from her nude pictures that have been doing the rounds on the social media circuit.Those in the habit of engaging or those contemplating in doing the same are strongly advised to think thrice of its repurcussions.
This tarnishes our brand image and value: a foundation on which we are built and respected.
The Daily Monitor, a sister news Channel to NTV Uganda tweeted:
The email that “sacked” Anita Fabiola leaks: http://t.co/0zQ2NOZegH pic.twitter.com/9WF0wldwrM
— Daily Monitor (@DailyMonitor) May 26, 2015
Ugandans took to social media to discuss NTV firing Anita.
Baker Moses asked that Anita return to her job:
@ntvuganda we need #Anitafabiola back A.S.A.P — baker moses (@moses_baker) May 27, 2015
Frying Pan, a Ugandan journalist based in Rwanda, felt that the decision by NTV Uganda was unfair:
So Anita Fabiola has been sacked for those nude photos? This is unfair. NTV Uganda should do better than that. I… http://t.co/GuhjVOcfBJ
— Frying Pun (@FryingPun) May 26, 2015
Celebrated radio host James Onen disagreed with the decision as well:
If this email is legit I have to say I'm disappointed in these people. Who still thinks like this in 2015. No one besides corporate bureaucrats give a fuck about “brand image” anymore. This is just corporate gibberish.
Ugandan blogger and digital media consultant Javie Ssozi argued NTV is trying to play the tune of Ugandan Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Father Simon Lokodo:
The answer lies in the email NTV sent to the staff, a precise warning. Once your nude photos leak, show yourself the door and never come back! Clearly NTV’s response to Fabiola’s incident is rather appalling. Absolutely zero pity, instead, she is being punished for a “crime” she did not commit. This reminds me of Lokodo, who often thinks that women go around leaking their nude photos and that victims of revenge porn “should be locked up and isolated”. Yes, I do not see a difference between Lokodo and NTV.
However, Kyolaba Shammah half-backed NTV Uganda's apparent morality stance:
http://t.co/5o3lanANG9@ntvuganda i love the image protection bit. but focus shud be on the main guy #phonethief. otherwise unfair dismissale
The hashtag #BringBackFabiola trended in Uganda immediately after the letter firing Anita leaked online.