Fortunate Ahimbisibwe, a former journalist who cut his trade at The New Vision as an education reporter, yesterday came out and confessed that as a serving journalist, he did work for intelligence.
In a bold post on his Facebook page, Ahimbisibwe noted that he was forced to do espionage work while working for The New Vision to shore up his salary.
“I started carrying out some ‘assignments’ for some of Uganda’s intelligence agencies. I was young and naïve, I look back and say, some of this, I shouldn’t have done. The motivation was really to supplement my income because journalists’ pay in Uganda was not too far away from that of teachers,” he wrote.
The post was a reaction to the brutal arrest of Charles Etukuri, a senior New Vision journalist who some people have claimed had close connections within the intelligence community.
In fact, in his post Ahimbisibwe claimed he had recruited Etukuri into state operations.
He wrote: “Its is on one of these assignments that I recruited Charles Etukuri for a highly sensitive job. This was his first ‘assignment’. Although the mission aborted at the last minute, the information provided made a difference and we went on for various other missions. This particular assignment involved capturing an army dissident who was being hidden by one of Uganda’s former top journalists who has since been recruited to provide lip service and also make noise for M7. Tables turn and the hunter becomes the hunted.”
That Ahimbisibwe was a state operative, who sometimes brandished his pistol, had been one of the worst guarded secrets within the media fraternity.
As an operative, Ahimbisibwe was sometimes ruthless. Once he tried to befriend a female journalist from The Observer as a way of trying to to find out who the newspaper’s sources were. When the journalist turned down his overtures, Ahimbisibwe started trailing her and in one case, threatened her.
The Observer had written some stinging stories against government.
Yet his coming out to state that he was a former state spy, also raised eyebrows.
“Why come out now?” one of his Facebook friends asked.
Some people doubted whether he had really cut off the connections with the intelligence community.
According to most of his recent social media posts, Ahimbisibwe has since become a critic of government