Following the incident whereby a RwandAir plane skidded off the runway at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport in the early hours of this Wednesday, the Daily Monitor newspaper chose to go with a highly sensationalized angle to the story, with claims that “20 of the passengers were lady visitors of Uganda’s commander of land forces, Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba. “The ladies were invited by the First Son to grace his 48th birthday party scheduled on April 24,” claimed the paper.
As if to further underscore the lewd angle Daily Monitor had chosen, it quoted some tweets that Gen. Muhoozi had sent out to prominent personalities in Kigali, some of them lady friends, inviting them to his birthday. “It was completely unrelated to the Rwandair plane’s mishap at the runway,” social media commentators in Kigali pointed out, adding it was such a sleazy angle to take that not even notorious tabloids would go there. Not even Red Pepper!
The aircraft – which landed in very bad weather, causing the mishap – was coming from Nairobi, and had 60 passengers of different nationalities on board, according to the passenger manifesto.
Daily Monitor in its article did not establish how it determined that some of these passengers were “lady friends” of the commander of the Land Forces, that supposedly were in Uganda for the birthday. Passenger manifestos do not specify who the passengers are visiting. That information is private to the travelers themselves.
Media ethics would indicate how unprofessional it was of the Monitor to publish such misinformation, or claims that they knew to be completely made up.
“Of course the name Gen. Muhoozi sells and, though it was completely unrelated to the mishap, they invoked it to spice up the story, and they had to invent allegations of several Rwandan ladies going to his party,” said a reader. “It is just a lot of disrespect by the Monitor!”
The plane, all of whose passengers and flight crew disembarked safely and unharmed, remained stuck in the mud for several hours, until it was finally towed away late in the night.