I find fulfillment in linking citizens to their leaders - Murekatete
Immy Kalema Murekatete is a news anchor on RTV and is also known for her show, The Big Q, which was launched as ‘a voice’ for people to connect with leaders in society. Women Today’s Sharon Kantengwa spoke to her about the inspiration behind the show and her career plans.
Tell us about yourself
I am a journalist, news anchor, and host of The Big Q. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. I am 29 years old, married and a proud mother of two.
Why did you choose media?
I was inspired by the late Francis Bbale in Uganda, where I started practicing my career. I was inspired by the way he read the news on Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (Uganda Television at the time) and I felt like I wanted to tell a story the way he did. I also chose media because I wanted to inspire others. When we grow up, we are not sure what our purpose in life is, and so I felt that was one of the ways I could be able to fulfil my purpose. Today, I get people who tell me they are inspired by me to join media. I get satisfaction when I receive such feedback.
How did the concept of The Big Q come up?
When I first moved to Rwanda, I felt like there was a big gap between us and our leaders. Not because they don’t associate with us, but I felt like there were questions people had that were not voiced. I formed The Big Q to become a mouth piece, let the people ask and let the leaders answer. During the first two months, I realised that people had questions that seemed confusing, yet the issues they are trying to address affect them in one way or another. We chose to use the social media platforms because it is widely used here and I thought that we could achieve a lot from social media. The juniors might be ‘tied down’ on information and so I only go for heads of institutions because I know that they will give right answers and can only push the juniors in the right direction. We are celebrating a year now.
What has the journey been like so far?
The journey has been both rosy and thorny. Rosy in the sense that I have seen myself grow in many ways such as the way I look for news. I go deeper to get news because it’s what my career has taught me, to go an extra mile. I have got satisfaction from people who appreciate what I do. Not everyone will love you and that’s the thorny bit. However, having people who appreciate me makes me have a good night’s sleep.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered?
People are very stingy with information. People fail to communicate, and often shy away from the camera. This impedes my work because I don’t have the authority to say certain things. People are shying away from the camera and it has been a challenge. I also hope that journalism in Africa will grow to pay journalists better.
What don’t people know about you?
I love food. When a plate of food is placed before me, I close my eyes when I put the first fork in my mouth to taste it. I also love the version of myself outside the studio. I love laughing and cracking jokes and generally being me. Another thing about me is that I do not give up and I always push until I get what I want.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I will be very experienced although I’m not sure I will still be practicing journalism. I love it so much, but I believe there are things that push us to be better. I am into public relations consultancy and I’m trying to venture more into it. One thing I can promise myself is that five years from now I will be much better.
What is your philosophy in life?
It’s no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then. Yesterday probably encountered many challenges but I’m not going to ride on it. I will look forward and ride on positivity.
Any advice for young girls who look up to you?
Try not to be someone else, be original. We have celebrated journalists around the world but every time you want to be like any other person, you get lost in their shadow. Also, try not to take in what people say to bring you down. Young girls should identify what they want, go for it and no one should stop them.