The Kakwenza phenomenon

Yesterday, within less than seven hours, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija raised from individual donors, I assume mostly Ugandans, Shs 40 million (nearly US$ 11.4 thousand). He used a simple fundraising strategy. Through his social media platforms he requested five thousand donors to each donate, via mobile money, Shs 8,000 (which is less than US$ 3).

And, once he had raised the funds, Kakwenza immediately put out a message that he had raised sufficient funds and that the fundraising was closed. Indicating that many more would have continued giving. That he announced achieving his fundraising target, also demonstrates his goodness of character.

The purpose for the funds is in order to ensure that the four Ugandans who stood surety for Kakwenza when he was released on bail don’t end up paying from their own pockets; or if they couldn’t do so, end up in jail. Read more in the Daily Monitor and the New Vision.

How shall we interpret this occurrence?

  • Did the individual donors give because they are in support of what Kakwenza is accused of – that is “offensive communication,” which using his Twitter handle he put out and which allegedly “disturbed the peace” of two generals?
  • Was the giving on the basis of principle – in the spirit kind of we are for justice and we are convinced Kakwenza is being treated unfairly, both by those who accuse him and those who are expected to be impartial in trying his case. A kind of in your face giving.

Whatever the reason, this occurrence is indeed a huge myth buster. First of all, the myth that Ugandans don’t have a giving culture, unless they are giving to their own relative, is busted. Similarly, the myth that Ugandans are too poor to give, is as well busted.

Secondly, if individual Ugandans can give so generously in support of Kakwenza, why are they not giving similarly in support of Ugandan civil society organisations and political parties? To the extent that both Ugandan civil society organisations and political parties focus our fundraising strategies towards exogenous donations.

Loads of food for thought for me as I re-think our organisation’s fundraising strategy.

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