KAMPALA – People Power movement spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi on Sunday, March 29 delivered an assortment of food items to disadvantaged people in Nakawa Division, Kampala, a move that many observers say is part of steps he is taking to ramp up his bid for the area parliamentary seat come 2021.
Mr Ssenyonyi on Sunday delivered the items to help the needy people affected by the partial lockdown caused by coronavirus.
“Together with friends, we delivered some food to vulnerable people in some parts of Nakawa Division, door to door to avoid crowds. The need is huge, yet means are limited! Let’s all do what we can wherever we are in whichever part of the country to help the needy in this #COVID19 season,” he said.
However, many people closed to him say that his primary objective is to introduce himself to the area residents ahead of firming his bid to unseat the current area MP, Mr Michael Kabaziguruka of FDC.
Now 32 years old, Ssenyonyi was born to Joseph Besekezi Ssenyonyi and Dorothy Nankunda Senyonyi.
He is a Muruuli by tribe who grew up in Kyengera, a Kampala City suburb.
“I am the first born to my mother. She was the official wife, the wedded wife. We are four of us. My father was a hardworking man. So, I have half-brothers and half-sisters, each of them with their own mother. But eventually, many of these half-brothers were brought to our home. My mother asked my father to bring them. She said I will raise the children. So, we grew up together. Unfortunately, we had to leave our Kyengera home, move elsewhere and began to live real life after the separation of our parents,” Ssenyonyi told The Observer,a local newspaper recently.
“So, we went to live somewhere and it was a kitchen really! In that room we were six of us: my mother, myself, my three siblings and then a maid that we came with from Kyengera. I remember my mother going without food some nights so we [children] could eat the little that was there.”
Ssenyonyi admits that during his childhood, he was a naughty and inquisitive boy who used to disturb his mother a lot.
“I got beatings from my mother. Mothers can beat! I guess that is why we love them. You know they can beat with anything: slippers, hanger. My father, he never laid his hand on me at all, or any of my siblings. It never happened, for many reasons. Partly because he was a stay-away father.”
He studied at Trinity Academy Primary School Bukoto for his Primary Seven, St Lawrence Citizen High School for his O and A Levels.
“When I was younger, I wanted to become a lawyer. But then I thought but these lawyers are liars. I did want to work on TV. I remember in my O-level, I was chairman debating club. Of course I became prefect in different portfolios. In S6, I was still chairman debating club. I became head boy again. I was a tough one.”
“I remember in my vacation, UBC advertised looking for anchors. I applied, with nothing. I didn’t have even the senior six results. People applied with master’s degrees, diplomas and so on. But somehow I had this gusto in me of it will happen. So, we go, we do interviews and cross over to the next round, like that, like that. I remember the final round and these people were asking how old are you? I am like, ‘I am 19’. They say, ‘you are 19! Are you at campus or what?’ I say ‘I am in S6 vacation’. My results are not out yet. They looked at each other…but they liked what I offered. They chose two us: myself and a lady, to begin working.”
Despite enrolling for a science course [bachelors degree of science in business statistics], Ssenyonyi remained committed to journalism.
When he left UBC, he joined NTV Uganda as a host and news anchor. He spent five years at the station before calling it quits last year.