Allimadi, Publisher of US-based Black Star News threatens legal action Against Malicious Tweet that He Organized Seattle Oulanyah Protest

Allimadi at World Bank Protest
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The screenshot from one of Mbabali's tweets abroad showing Allimadi holding a megaphone, claiming to show him at the Seattle protest was actually of a photo taken when he attended a protest against the World Bank and IMF in Washington, D.C. 

There’s a malicious campaign targeting New York-based Black Star News publisher Milton Allimadi which is doing the rounds on social media.

It is centered on the approximately 10 people who demonstrated outside the hospital in Seattle, U.S.A., where the late Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament Jacob Oulanyah was being treated. His death was announced on March 20, 2022. 

The crowd of 10 reportedly demonstrated after hearing that the cost of transporting and treating Oulanyah was reportedly around $490,000 or 1.7 billion Uganda shillings. Uganda’s Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo spoke on this matter and has come under fire for allegedly making ethnocentric remarks at a vigil for the late Oulanyah; he’s reported to have said the protest was motivated by animosity by some in Buganda because Oulanyah, as with Owiny-Dollo, hails from the northern part of Uganda. 

While speaking at Oulanyah’s home during the vigil, Owiny-Dollo sought to find out why the people who asked Oulanyah “to go back home” during the protest when he was hospitalized in Seattle, didn’t complain when the “ethnic leader” of a certain region traveled to Germany for treatment. “…your ethnic leader, you-you who were demonstrating was transported in a presidential jet to Germany, using public funds. He was not entitled. You didn’t demonstrate. Is it because Oulanyah is an Acholi?” Owiny-Dollo began.

He paused before adding, “Is it because he doesn’t speak your language?” and after another pause concluded: “Only a wicked person can fight a person who is fighting for his life. Only a super wicked person can fight the dead.” Many people took the Chief Justice’s reference to be about the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Mutebi II, whose aide’s have since issued a statement saying he traveled to Germany via KLM airlines, which is certainly not the presidential plane. 

Meanwhile a certain individual who goes by the twitter handle @MarkMbabali has been circulating a meme which shows Allimadi, who is also adjunct professor at John Jay College in New York and at Columbia University, purportedly at the same Seattle protest. 

In the malicious tweet, Allimadi, holding the megaphone is purportedly shown in the Seattle protest. It was actually taken at a World Bank protest in January.

Here's another photo taken at the same World Bank protest that Allimadi participated in.

Mark Mbabali’s tweet of March 24 also claims: “BREAKING: Ugandan behind the Famous OULANYAH protests in SEATTLE revealed. Turns out he is an ACHOLI from Gulu and is non other than prof @allimadi. Son of former PM Allimadi n author cofounder of Blackstarnews #Baganda #Acholi #Chiefjustice #Tribalism #Oulayah (sic) #RIPOulanyah.” 

Mark Mbabali’s meme goes on to use Allimadi’s purported leading of this demonstration to nullify Owiny-Dollo’s claim that the protest was inspired by ethnic-hostility since Allimadi also hails from Acholi; Mbabali claims this means the demonstration could not be about Oulanyah’s ancestral origin, but purely about Uganda’s ailing health system and preferential treatment for VIPs. 

“The postings by the person, if indeed it’s a real person, who goes by the twitter handle @MarkMbabali is false, slanderous, and libelous,” Allimadi said. “There will be a price to pay. Not only did I not organize the protest, I did not participate in it, and I’ve never been to Seattle in my life, and by the way it’s nearly 3,000 miles away from New York City, where I’m based.” 

Allimadi also tweeted directly to the user of the handle @MarkMbabali threatening legal action. Mbabali has yet to retract the tweet, or apologize of explain his motivations, Allimadi, who is also contacting Twitter directly says. “Obviously I don’t know who this individual or entity is. I wouldn’t be surprised if the long tentacles of Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni’s dirty tricks department is involved.” 

“As you know, many people are questioning the regime about the natiure of the passing of the late honorable Speaker Oulanyah,” he said. 

Allimadi has also tweeted a rebuttal of Mbabali’s tweet and posted his warning about legal action on his Facebook page and referred to @MarkMbabali as an “A-hole.” 

Allimadi said a photograph used by Mbabali in one of his tweets, showing him holding a megaphone, and which Mbabali claims was while he was at the Seattle protest, was actually from a protest he participated in against the World Bank and IMF in Washington, D.C. 

Several Ugandans in the U.S. diaspora including Kharim Ntambi, Ismael Serunjogi and other have all tweeted confirming that Allimadi didn’t plan or participate in the Seattle protest

A Google search of this Mark Mbabali (a.k.a. Arnold) leads to News Anchor & Business Reporter at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC TV), Uganda's national broadcaster and government mouthpiece. 

Yet, the profile picture of the of the two Marks—the one who issued the malicious tweet and the one of UBC TV—do not match. They are obviously different persons. On Mbabali’s Facebook page, there are no pictures save for a few stock images which further conceals the identity, Twitter is also of no help.  

His Facebook profile states: “Worked at Red Pepper (magazine), Studied at Ntare School, Studied Majored in Law at Uganda Christian university Mukono, Went to Seeta High, Lives in Kampala, Uganda, From Kiryandongo, Hoima, Uganda, In an open relationship, Followed by 115 people.”

There is one post on his Facebook wall which seems to support the Youth Livelihood Program of Pius Bigirimana and he concludes with the words:  “Anyway at the end of the day, we wasted a valuable opportunity once again to be a trail blazer and pioneer with the youth livelihood programme. I do wish the southafricans all the best and i hope we shall soon bench-mark from them once People-Power takes over leadership in Uganda. I remain Mark Mbabali #Bodabodawisdom.” 

This man’s political affiliation is not clear, making it difficult to determine why he tweeted what Allimadi has called “Shameless lies that have been easily exposed.” 

Could he be one of those decoys deployed by the state to sow dissension in the Opposition ranks? By trying to stir the pot about what the Chief Justice purportedly said, he could seek to generate a sensational split within the ranks of those who support change. 

His picture, after a deeper Google search, leads to a certain Khalil Gibran Muhammad, who is said to be 48 years old and from Illinois, a state in the Midwestern region of the United States.

So his picture, profile and even sentiments on his wall are painfully suspect.  

Who is this? An imposter? 

The writer can be reached via mugashop74@gmail.com 

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