Ugandan socialite Shanita Namuimbwa, popularly known as Bad Black, is through her lawyers threatening to sue the Ministry of Health and its partners; United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) over a Covid-19 advert she appeared in.
According to Bad Black, the ministry owes her Sh14.3 million (UGx500 million) and a further Sh1.4 million in damages (UGx50 million) for negating on a deal that saw her grace the advert geared towards the sensitization of women, especially those at Uganda’s border points, against coronavirus.
Bad Black claims that a Ministry of Health agent - Kisembo Ronex, in tandem with President Yoweri Museveni’s clarion call for the public to support its efforts against the disease, contacted her on April 29.
Ronex, says Bad Black, verbally promised a meeting with President Museveni with whom the Sh14.3 million pay was to be allegedly actioned by.
“Our client was asked to record a paid advert sensitizing the public about the dangers of Covi-19 and to encourage ladies especially those residents in areas near the country borders to avoid indulging with truck drivers whom the government had found to be the most infected with Covid-19… Our client complains of having been used, duped, deceived and tricked into recording an advert for the government under a false promise which has not been fulfilled.
“Our instructions are to demand that you pay our client the sum of Ugx500 million being the consideration of the said advert and Ugx50 million as damages for the inconveniences and mental anguish suffered by our client,” read the statement by Bad Black's lawyers, threatening of a civil suit should the pay not be effected within 14 days.
In a statement, however, the ministry accused Bad Black of blackmailing the state and clarified that her input was without any charge as they never had any contractual agreement.
According to the ministry, their engagement with Bad Black was via a consultant, Precision Communications, which acted as a liaison between itself and Ugandan personalities.
“Following the call by H.E the President to the general public to donate or provide free services towards the prevention of COVID-19, a number of companies came out to support the Ministry of Health with some offering a number of items while others supporting in terms of the services they offer.
“It is therefore against this background that Precision Communications Consulting Limited came out and donated Media Production services to the Ministry of Health under the close supervision of the Ministry of Health. All content and messaging was cleared by the Ministry of Health,” read the statement in part.
According to the ministry, she was not the only personality who voluntarily answered to President Museveni’s call.
“Precision Communications Consulting Limited approached various key personalities who voluntarily recorded messages as a way of giving back to their country in this COVID-19 fight, among whom was Bad Black. All these individuals were requested to voluntarily participate, and they consented before any recording was made,” added the ministry.
The recordings, it added, were acts of patriotism and that it only paid for ‘airtime on radio, television stations and digital platforms to enable regular airing of messages’.
“Bad Black, in particular, consented to record a message that was appealing to her colleagues who were at risk of contracting COVID-19, and would thus spread it to other members of the community
“Indeed, the Ministry of Health appreciates all entities and personalities who offered their valuable time and services voluntarily to support risk communication to various target audiences for purposes of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“The Ministry would like to reiterate that this was done on solely voluntary terms and no contractual or financial obligations were attached to any of the personalities including Bad Black.”
Claims she furiously refuted.
“Ministry of Health- Uganda stop acting s****d. Now, you’re denying I have no contract with but the advert was approved by you? Since you are saying that I have no agreement with you, you stole my advert… In my territory, there is nothing for free. I call upon the President of Uganda to give me a token of appreciation as a warrior.”