Canary Mugume is an investigative TV journalist who is loved and hated in equal measure. Stories abound of him building a mansion at the tender age of 26. He recently got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Sasha Ferguson. Joan Murungi interviewed him.
When did your journalism career start?
I started by working with the New Vision in 2013. I was writing for the teens magazine. I also worked for Urban TV as well.
Five months ago, you claimed you were too young to get married. Now, you are engaged and the wedding bells are too loud.
The person who said that has never interviewed me and the article was written without my consent. I did not offer my opinion in that article. It was fake news.
When did you figure out that it was the right time to get married?
We had dated for seven years. We had both completed school. We both had jobs. We had moved in together and there was really nothing more to wait for.
You took so much time studying Sasha. You have been together for seven years and you couldn’t figure out whether she was the right person or not?
The seven years span from the time when she was in S4 and I was in my S6 vacation. I don’t think anyone expected us to get married then. Seven years was a good time to know each other, understand each other’s preferences, goals, dreams, expectations and friends. Having figured all that out, we came to a conclusion that it was high time we lived together forever.
What is so special about Sasha Ferguson?
Ferguson is patient and understanding. She is a good mind reader. She is a keeper.
Rumour has it that at first, she turned down your marriage proposal. What magic did you use at the second attempt?
Ferguson has never turned down my proposal. The only proposal I made is one and I made it in May this year. Which other one is there? (He laughs). Where is the evidence?
Why do you look too serious? You are even serious with me as well.
If I had turned down the interview, you would have said I am a show off. (He laughs). It’s my job that makes me look that way. (His friend interjects: He is a happy guy. Just look for him at a wedding or party. Or follow him on TikTok)
Tiktok? Women like Caroline Marcah have said Tiktok is a women’s App and they wouldn’t even date sissies on it.
It’s not written anywhere that TikTok is for women. Even when Instagram was introduced, some people said it was for women and now, the same thing is being said about SnapChat. For me, TikTok is an App for connecting with my audience. People would like to know my life outside TV.
There is a lady who wants to become your second wife. Are you ready to become a Hajji?
I will ask Sasha. If she is okay with it, I will tell you.
What relationship do you have with Andrew Mwenda?
He is my foster father.
What is the most romantic thing you have done in a relationship?
I am romantic every day. I can’t tell the most romantic thing I have done because it has become a routine. (He calls Sasha, puts her on loud speaker and asks her)
Sasha responds: Everything about the engagement was romantic.
(Canary) Do you own a gun? Pictures of you and Sasha holding guns recently went viral on social media.
No, I don’t. Well, I am yet to own one, so I’m training on how to use one. There is an academy for firearms where you go to train for a number of months and if you pass, you are given a certificate and you then become eligible to own a gun. The academy is manned by the Uganda Police.
Rumour has it that you have been building a multi-million mansion. Where did you get the money?
I don’t know about any mansion. Journalists earn very little money for them to be able to build a mansion. Besides, I have only been in the profession for five years.
Have you ever felt like ditching journalism for something else?
No. I don’t do journalism for money. I do journalism for the passion. I do it for fun, like going to play soccer.
How else do you earn a living?
I do some real estate business that puts food on the table. It’s for Sasha and I.
GNL Zamba says Ugandan journalists have failed to go international. He made the comment while responding to journalists who keep blaming Ugandan artistes for failing to hit the international market.
If all journalists go international, who is going to report the news in Uganda?
If you got a chance to work with BBC, would you take up the offer?
I don’t know. It depends. Uganda needs journalists who are going to provide context to information, and report it in the most accurate and consumable manner. That person has to be us. It’s not that we are limiting ourselves from going international, but there has to be someone who loves to work here and is passionate about giving information to the public locally.
What are some of your hobbies?
I love reading books. I have just come back from a bookshop. (Looks for the books before showing me one) This is about Paul Kagame. It was written by Paul Mugabe. (Picks up another book) In fact, a journalist bought these two books for me. My favourite writer is Malcolm Gladwell. He writes about ideas and how to expand them. He writes about things outside this world.
What is your real age?
I am 26.
Okay… (He stands up) I know I look 42. How old do I look? We, people from Toro, feed on milk and honey. How are we supposed to grow old?