Earlier this year, internationally acclaimed journalist, Andrew M. Mwenda came out strongly against TVO, a Facebook page that has long been bent on a campaign to smear the government of Uganda.
According to Mwenda, this TVO entity has hacked into poorly protected government of Uganda websites and apparently negotiated deals to buy alleged classified content from them.
Last year, one, Robert Shaka first came to the public eye when it emerged that he had been arrested and taken into custody of police, apparently on credible Intel that he, Robert Shaka had been confirmed to be part of the group that is running TVO, a cyber-heckler, otherwise known as Tom Voltaire Okwalinga. It is said that with this page, Shaka had been posting texts that were always very adversarial and sternly critical to government.
It emerged that the police had picked up Robert Shaka on charges familiar with the treasonous use of Internet. In so short a lag Robert Shaka had become a trending topic even with no much knowledge about the subject. But just who is this man?
This has been the job of Andrew Mwenda since the year began and his investigation simply augments an article as published in the Red Pepper last year;
Robert Shaka, 37 hails from Nakasongola District and was born to refugee parents who had fled from the political turmoil in Rwanda in the 1970s. Shaka’s father is said to have been a bush war hero, part of the 1986 Liberation Struggle. Shaka Zulu was his name. Before his demise, he had also sired two other sons who are known to have attended Army P/S in Jinja.
Shaka was therefore raised in these times when political turmoil in Uganda was also at its peak. He lost
his father in the war and grew up on the war’s frontlines. His mother as well served in the Ugandan army.
Partially because his parents were uneducated, he did not so much appreciate the value of education. He eventually dropped out of school when he was seven. However he later rejoined.
He went to Kadogo P/S in Kabamba and Wobulenzi Parents P/S. In his PLE, he scored 4 points in all the four subjects. Which in fact tells a lot on how brilliant a student he was. He farther went to St. Mary’s Kisubi for his Secondary education where he excelled as well. He easily joined the University.
In June 2000 Shaka graduated from Makerere University, Uganda’s most prestigious university, with a degree in biochemistry. However, his passion was in designing information technology systems, especially technologies that would address the challenges of rural economic development. He later went to the United States to farther his education.
In 2001, Shaka worked at Center for Disease Control aka CDC in Uganda. He however went after his inherent passion abroad.
While building his skills in this field of interest in the United States, he was introduced to online networks of professionals that he found very valuable in building knowledge and awareness among professionals on issues concerning their communities. Reflecting on his struggle for education, Shaka sees his example as only one among so many government trained professionals.
Having been educated thanks to taxpayers’ money, he has a strong desire to give back to society. He designed the Ideas Factory and the Rockford Harris Group to mobilize thousands of government trained professionals to do the same—give back by putting their expertise to good use. Today, he is part of an organization that specializes in the same. It is called Ashoka Innovators For The Public
Shaka’s early childhood experiences created a drive in him to give back to others. Orphaned at nine-years-old, Shaka was educated on government bursaries and he always felt that he owed society for the investment it made in him.
According to his Ashoka Organization website, Shaka is creating new roles for university-educated professionals to drive economic development programs and help eradicate poverty in some of Uganda’s most impoverished and disenfranchised communities.
It is said that he recognized that the large and growing base of Ugandan professionals represented an untapped resource that could be brought to the service of impoverished rural areas where most government programs have proven ineffective.
Shaka’s idea is apparently built on a virtual platform that connects skilled professionals with rural farming communities to collectively improve productivity and incomes on farms, and address a wide range of rural development issues.
This platform is built to analyze challenges farmers are facing and to channel expertise towards ideas and strategies that are locally born and that can be implemented using local resources. Each issue drawn from the community-defined priorities is then debated online. The participating professionals examine the gaps in processes and structures and identify areas where they could intervene. They then devote part of their holiday time to live and work with farmers’ groups to implement the suggested interventions. In its initial phase, Shaka’s program has already reached thousands of farmers and their families and successfully influenced professionals to pursue roles in community development. The platform increasingly welcomes the participation of a global audience.
To this day, the middle class computer expert has sold like a hot cake to many government agencies and rather important figures in the corridors of power. But not once has Shaka publically expressed any political interests, let alone use his numerous connetions to rise up the ladder of power.
However, many pundits have observed that Shaka may be an angry man because he never felt duly compensated for, having lost all his parents fighting for the Liberation of this country.