PATRICK KANYOMOZI is a sports journalist and president of the Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA). A very calm and humble person in real life, but quite outspoken and witty on social media not only about sports but also politics and social life, Kanyomozi recently talked to Quick Talk.
Hmmm… how best to describe you…?
I am a leader – a born-leader. I am currently the president of USPA. I am also a family man married to a beautiful wife [Rahma Lucky Mbabazi, a presenter at Capital Radio] with children, and I am a journalist. I am very passionate about sports, human rights, leadership and politics.
Why the addition of “District” to your name?
[Laughs] I took up that nickname when government was creating so many districts and I wrote on social media that everyone one day will become a district. So, I called myself District Kanyomozi and surprisingly, some people now just call me District.
You are so outspoken on social media; don’t you feel like you are rubbing some people the wrong way?
Yeah, of course, but at the end of the day, those are my thoughts. I share what I feel and if it does rub someone the wrong way, that is not my problem. I think social media helps me to do that because physically I am not so outspoken; so, I always channel my thoughts [there].
Have you been threatened because of your posts?
I have been threatened a good number of times. Some are just phone calls, others are texts and some powerful people send people to warn me. Some have tried to attack me and my family, but I don’t really care as long as I know that what I am saying is what I believe.
But you look very calm and humble…
I am very calm and humble, by the way [laughs]. For people who meet me the first time, they cannot believe that I am that person they see on social media. It doesn’t take away the fact that I am humble, calm and peaceful, though I know many may not agree with that.
Have you been that way from childhood?
I was a naughty child. I come from very humble beginnings; so, we didn’t have a lot but we were contented with what we had and had so much fun in our own way.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
I always got into trouble because of my passion for sports, especially with my mum. Playing the whole day, only to come back late in the evening very dirty with some clothes torn. But before she died, I would tell her that ‘you see what you used to beat me for has turned into a job and it has made me what I am today’, and we would laugh about it.
How did you get into the media?
While at home in Masaka during my S6 vacation, I told my elder brother that ‘I think I can read news’. So, I got a newspaper, sat in front of him and read. He told me I sounded nice. I had a friend who worked at a local radio station; he linked me up and I went for a voice test and, to my surprise, I got the job the following day.
I continued with it at university but decided to specialize in sports and here I am!
You were unopposed for the second term as USPA president…
It was nice because it saved a lot in terms of emotions; campaigning is not easy. But, on the other hand, as a person who believes in divergent views, I was not so pleased about it because I do not believe that there was no one with a divergent way of doing better what I had done. But at the end of the day, it is a sign of confidence from the members.
How did you meet your wife?
We met while we were both working at KFM [hmm, there must be something in that Namuwongo water!] At first we were just good friends – like brother and sister. Then along the way the ‘brother’ developed feelings for the ‘sister’.
At first she was mad about the whole idea. But we gave it time, thought about it and it worked out. Here we are now 10 years down the road. We got married and have kids.
What attracted you the most?
I liked her personality; she is almost the opposite of me. She is so outspoken, yet I am an introvert. But also, I was her friend; I knew everything about her and realised she has a very good heart and that meant so much. She is very loving, kind-hearted and a very good mother. It is not easy to find someone who has that much time for her children, husband and home. She is the complete package.
Is she really that stubborn?
[Laughs out loud] Not really. I think her public life is like the social media me. At home it is a little bit different, but we have our crazy moments; we can sing or dance. You always see videos of her dancing with the kids. She is a little bit reserved, but she is a very happy person and that happiness is infectious.
How is marriage like when both of you are in the limelight?
Not easy, but at the end of the day what matters is what you know about yourselves. I think because of social media, people tend to think that they know you and are quick to make assumptions.
But married life has been good to me; it is one of the best decisions I have made. It has helped me grow in all aspects and the key aspect in marriage is happiness. I am a happily married man with a happy family and to me that is everything. The other thing is, if you are going to be married and pay attention to what the public says about you, then you are bound to fail.
What do you do in your free time?
I watch a lot of sports. I also spend a lot of time with my family because even the sports I watch it from home. I dedicate a lot of my time to my family. I monitor what my children do. Sometimes I have to sit through hours watching cartoons, because I want to monitor what they watch.
Do you play any sport?
I used to, but now I don’t. I was a very good volleyball player and I also played a lot of football. But I keep myself fit; I work out a lot from home and the gym.
Which teams do you support?
[Strangely, he gives this a long thought] For that, I will pass, because of my job. But I am an ardent Brazil fan. For the clubs, I will not go into it. Actually I have a local football club that I love so much. I started supporting it in P4 and it hurts that I cannot openly express my love for it.
How does it feel when your team loses and you have to go on radio and dissect the game without ‘catching feelings’?
I always look at everything on a lighter side. I take the emotions out of it. When my team loses, I make fun of it and that helps me. You will never find me moody because my team lost [lucky Lucky!].
Robert [aka Bobi Wine] Kyagulanyi recently sent you and your family Iftar. Are you guys that close?
No, but we are friends. We talk once in a while, and my wife and Barbie [Itungo, Bobi’s wife] are friends. The Kyagulanyis have been sending Iftar to different Muslims and that day, they decided to send to Lucky and we were grateful. I think everyone knows about my relationship with Bobi Wine and the movement; he is a man I look up to in so many ways and a person I believe is a good leader.
You are so passionate about politics; do you consider running for office?
Probably in the future, but not now. I have not been a big fan of elective politics, but I cannot rule it out.
What would you do if you were president even for a day?
I would get rid of the corrupt officials. I would reduce the size of our cabinet and parliament. I would also reduce government expenditure on unnecessary things.
Can you cook, Patrick?
Yes, once in a while. I am not a fan, but I can cook. I stayed alone for a very long time; so, I learnt how to cook. I can prepare almost all the dishes apart from matoke and those other foods that involve peeling [so, a rice, eggs and spaghetti cook…]
What is your favourite dish?
Rice and peas.
What is that one thing you cannot live without?
[Promptly:] My phone. I know most people would think it is because of social media but there are so many other things that I use it for.
What is your retirement plan?
I want to retire next year. I am starting up an agency that does public relations and marketing. I have mastered a lot of experience in this area and I am assembling the best team and I know that we are going to change the face of PR and marketing.