Some of the metrics to recognize a famous person/ celebrity is having a fawning fan, media attention, and spotlight on themselves, attracting crowds, and having a huge influence on the masses. Though many of us here in Uganda still believe that being a celebrity is only attributed to the entertainment industry, any other person beyond this scope can be a celebrity too.
So, should we say the newly elected member of parliament for Kawempe North Muhammad Ssegirinya is a celebrity too? I think am right to say yes. Mr Ssegirinya’s surge in popularity isn’t easy to explain. To him, he insists that he is revered because in what he does, the common man’s agenda that always guides him. Bragging with more than 23K followers only on Facebook, Ssegirinya is indeed a celebrity.
Today lets take a quick insight into this 33-year-old comic politician (as many label him for his approach to politics) about his early life, education, relationships, hobbies etc as under our Celebrity Bioz Column. Here is all you need to know about him.
Early Life & Education
Born Muhammed Segirinya. the motor-mouthed NUP Die-hard was born in Butale Kaddugala in Masaka and is it is where he started his education from. He sat for his Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) at Kaddugala Primary School before joining Kaddugala SS for Senior 1 to Senior 3.
Segirinya was doing a sugarcane selling business but unfortunately collapsed while he was in S.3 and that is where he decided to come to Kampala with the help of his cousin who used to trade in Matoke. The honourable says that he then came to Kampala on a lorry of Matooke and alighted at Bwaise and that was the start of his new life.
His cousin then helped him get a bursary at Kimbassy SS in Kyebando – an out-skirt of Kampala from where he sat for his Ordinary and Advanced Level Examinations.
To him, the difficult conditions that happened to him during his early life are what moulded him into the person he is today. He now holds a diploma in Journalism from Datamine Technical Business School.
Move to Politics
After completing his Senior six exams, Segirinya started thinking about his next step and this is where he started intensifying making phone calls into different radio political talk shows where he became prominent as ‘Segirinya Eddobozi Ly’e Kyebando’ (literally translated as Voice of Kyebando).
He had started doing so back in 2006, discussing the political events of the day therein tearing apart the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) as he was a Senior Three student at Pimba Secondary in Kyebando.
Later when his ambition grew, he started signing in and singing off the radio calls by describing himself as the ‘MP to-be Kawempe North’ and in a bid to get money to buy airtime such that he could make the phone calls on various radio stations, the youthful Ssegirinya had to part-time as a cleaner at Mariz Restaurant found in the City Centre Complex building, Luwum Street.
Becoming a Member of Parliament
As earlier mentioned, Muhammad Ssegirinya surprised many when he got a landslide victory to enter the August House as many believed he is a comedian as according to his approach to politics.
In 2011, he contested for MP Kawempe North but lost to Latif Ssebaggala and in 2016, FDC denied him the party ticket for the post of lord councillor, but came as an independent and won. He says that he used his tenure as a lord councillor at KCCA very well and it laid the ground for him to become an MP in 2021.
Sigirinya who was a ticket holder of the National Unity Platform party was contesting with 10 candidates for the Parliamentary seat and in the race, also included the incumbent Latif Ssebaggala who had represented the constituency for the past 20 years, former Kampala deputy mayor Sulaiman Kidandala and others. He, however, beat them hands down with a very big margin and to him, he says he took up the positions from number one up to ten before the second person in the race picked up from the 11th.
He says that being a man of many words and actions as well helped him a lot to win against seasoned politicians. Doing a lot of charity work and doing political activism are also other reasons why the voters decided to stand by him. He only needs only two terms and once they expire, he will either retire or move on to another leadership position.
“It is bad for a person to stay long in one position of power because you hinder other good people from serving the people.” He affirms.
What he is Looking into doing First in Parliament
Now he is an MP, he doesn’t want this to become a song. All he is looking into is working together with his people and other leaders for the good of Kawempe North constituency.
Among his strategies include the ‘100 days of Muhammad Ssegirinya’ where he is going to first come up with a private member’s bill of decreasing the salary of MPs to Shs 5m, since he believes it is not fair for an MP to get Shs 25m yet teachers and doctors get peanuts.
He also wants the people in the diaspora to be represented in parliament because they are many out there and they go through a lot of problems which need someone to address them in parliament.
His plans for the Sh 321m for the Car
Unlike some MPs who are eagerly waiting for the Shs 321m to buy monster rides, Muhammad Ssegirinya says that he can’t use all that money for own gain as he will continue using his old Toyota Premio.
“I am definitely going to take that money but I am not going to buy a new car because I already have one. I am going to get that money and divide it proportionately to help my people. My old car is enough for me to move through my constituency as long as I feel it. Kawempe is not a mountainous area that I need a big car to traverse it.”
He says that he is going to use sh 100m of it to help the families of the people who lost their loved ones during the struggle such as like Rita Nabukenya, Yasin Kawuma, Dan Kyeyune and many others, put 50 million into Muhammad Ssegirinya Orphanage to help underprivileged children, and then invest some money in development groups in Kawempe North, especially for the women and the rest will be used to buy sanitary pads for young girls and also buy hospital beds for premature babies at Kawempe hospital.
He also doesn’t want to lose the personal touch with his voters due to fear to approach him because he is in a monster ride.
He is popularly known as Mr Update due to his constant provision of what is happening in his constituency through live social media feeds. And to this, Segirinya says that he is just going to intensify his live updates as he warns his fellow MPs to watch out because any who will talk nonsense, he will record them and expose them to their constituents.
Hon Ssegirinya is married with kids. However, he asserts that since in Buganda culture men do not count their children, he doesn’t clarify how many are they. Meanwhile, on the swearing-in day, he promises everyone will see them and the wife.
On being called a comedian
He says he is not taken by naysayers calling him a comedian and he believes everybody has his or her own style of doing things.
“That’s my style and I believe it has delivered results.” He once noted.
Actions that will take longer to be forgotten.
The most memorable comic action by this honourable was when he was protesting against the introduction of mandatory pay TV, by the Uganda Communications Commission’s (UCC) move to migrate the country to digital platforms when he carried his TV set to the parliament, the hat didn’t end well to him. He insisted that the move to digitize the TV industry was against the down-trodden since they couldn’t afford the fees he deemed ridiculous.
The other one was during the height of the age limit debate in parliament when he was locked outside parliament as he begged to be let in to join the now-infamous Parliamentary brawl.