KAMPALA, UGANDA: As the countdown to the 2026 General Elections gains momentum, the popular slogan of“Omalaka Jajja, Tova ku Main” asking President Museveni to stay in power for another political term has sparked a legal battle with parties fighting to claim its patent rights.
The slogan whose complete version is “Omalako Jajja Tova Ku main; Tova Ku Ballot” translated to English as (“You’re fit, Grandpa; don’t leave the main track, Stay on the Ballot”) is used by members who subscribe to the Office of the National Chairman identifying themselves as “Bazzukulu ba Museveni.”
However, out of the blue, popular political commentator and social media critic, Frank Gashumba shocked everyone when he came out to claim that he originated the idea of the now popular slogan during his time as a brand strategist for the campaign in favour of Museveni’s 2026 presidential bid.
Gashumba, an outspoken staunch supporter of Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba and a top executive member of the Team MK Movement went ahead and filed an application before the Registrar at URSB on May 16, 2023, with intent to protect the slogan.
In his application, a copy of which this publication has seen, Gashumba claims ‘without proof’ to have authored the catchphrase on November 5, 2022, although this publication has learnt that the campaign was launched in October, of the same year, which further degrades Gashumba’s claims.
Speaking to journalists yesterday (Monday) after a court session in Kampala, the staunch says he is not moved and the Registrar of Services has received his evidence to back up his claims
“URSB requested it (the evidence) and we brought it, including computer stamps. When you start designing a logo, the computer captures the date and location if it is connected to the internet. We are going to avail more evidence,” a vocal Gashumba said.
“I am the authority, father, and DNA of that slogan. The branding is me. Namyalo gave away my business,” he added.
Origin of the TovaKuMain slogan
To back up his claims, Gashumba known for his controversy in the socio-political circles says he came up with the #TovaKuMain slogan when the ONC Boss, Hajjati Hadijah Namyalo tasked him as “a good brand strategist” to come up with a catchphrase that will incorporate the Bazzukulu since President Museveni usually refers to Ugandans this way in his prominent speeches.
Without laying empirical proof, Gashumba whose motive in the fight for the slogan remains unclear says he was promised to be the brand manager of the Tova Ku Main campaign but was undercut. To some, this partly verifies the fallout between him and the ONC camp.
We could not verify Gashumba’s claims, however, neither from Ms Namyalo.
T-shirts deal gone wrong
As ONC’s Brand Manager, Gashumba further says that he was tasked to print several branding materials, including a multimillion t-shirts deal for the ‘Omalako Jjaja, Tova Ku Main’ slogan for the campaign, but was surprised when he came to know that the business was instead given out to another person without favorable explanation.
He claims the decision to scoop him off the deal has left him in a loss of over 800 million shillings as he had already procured materials and made an order of more than 80,000 t-shirts, and was targeting up to 5 million shirts come next campaign.
“I have a stock of 40,000 caps and 80,000 t-shirts. Where will I put all this material? I learned from a friend that NRM released Shs 400 million to print t-shirts, but the money was kept away from me,” he wondered.
When contacted to ascertain if Gashumba’s claims were true, a top ONC official who preferred not to be named in this report agreed that Gashumba was part of the campaign branding team but had the deal squashed out of him due to inflated prices yet with ‘poor quality’.
“We gave business to Gashumba, who not only printed the wrong slogan on t-shirts but also lacked quality,” said the official in an exclusive conversation with this reporter on Tuesday morning. He added; “Indeed, on the day of the launch, there were two categories of T-shirts: the ones printed by Gashumba and ours.”.
DailyExpress could not verify the official’s statement as no tangible material or receipts were available by press time.
To further disown the unsubstantial claims, the ONC official describing Gashumba as a ‘top city conman’ strongly dismissed the claims that he and the Lwengo district chairperson Mr Ibrahim Kittata were the brains behind the now under-legal battle slogan of ‘Omalako Jjaja, Tova Ku Main’.
“We are too busy for that. But the truth is known and will come out. To give you a clue, just go look for clips on the day we launched in October 2022,” said the official, disapproving Gashumba’s earlier claim that he authored the slogan in November of the same year.
The official who seemed to be of full knowledge of Gashumba’s ‘cat and mouse’ games in the name of ‘looking for survival’ said this is not the first time the controversial businessman is engulfed in scandals rotating around money and fraudulent deals.
Kitata enters the fray
In a turn of events, the NRM Youth League Vice President Mr Ibrahim Kitatta who also formerly worked at ONC before falling out with his bosses over undisclosed reasons ran to URSB on June 26th, 2023, objecting to both Namyalo and Gashumba’s claims as claimants of the slogan.
Through his lawyers, Kitatta stated that he originated the slogan, launching it on October 17th, 2022, at Zebra Hotel in Masaka City, two days prior to Namyalo’s use.
The Lwengo LC5 chairperson said that he applied for copyright protection on January 27th, 2023 and that the URSB issued a notice of application on February 13th, 2023, adding that the notice was gazetted on February 24th, 2023, under General Notice number 476 of 2023.
URSB comes in play
The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) published a notice of registration on May 23rd, 2023, inviting objections from the public within a 60-day period to which Gashumba responded and filed a claim of ownership.
Subsequently, Ms Namyalo who is opposed to Gashumba’s application asserts in her letter to the Registrar of Copyright dated June 5th, 2023, that she started using the slogan on October 19th, 2022, during the launch of a bid urging President Museveni to run for the presidency in 2026.
The ONC National Coordinator claims to have in her possession evidence of widespread use and public exposure of the catchphrase via various online and offline media, as well as public events on dates preceding this.
“[Mr Gashumba’s] attempt to copyright my works represents an infringement of my intellectual property rights that I created in the course of my work as the head of the Office of the National Chairman of the National Resistance Movement,” says Ms Namyalo.
The Office of the National Chairman, with its offices in Kyambogo in Nakawa Division, is the official campaign organ for President Museveni Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the National Chairman of the Ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.