Sabiiti Herbert, MBA, BBA (MUK)

_Wikipedia - the largest online encyclopaedia defines Gossip as an idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others; the act is also known as dishing or tatting._

Some Bakiga use an opening phrase of gossiping called "Kitandugaho" literally translated as "huh, i won't be the whistle blower" or directly translated as "let it not come from me"

At this point, the temptation is strongest on the "receiver" to inquire more about what it is and they even go on to solemnly swear that they will not break it out to anyone else. "Maziima wakingambira nobawakiziika" to mean "if you tell me, consider it as good as burried, as never to be found out" .

Unfortunately, this is simply how the gossip begins. Believe me if you cant keep it to yourself, neither can the recipient. I recall a friend of mine who would say "you've failed to keep it in your head, so you want my head to be heavier with tell you the truth, i can't manage to keep it to myself".

Gossiping is an enemy of development because the discrediting talk about someone who is not present at a given time shutters their esteem as soon as they get to know about it. This iddle talk wastes time that would otherwise be put into productive use.

This enemy has crushed businesses in the nursery bed, shuttered promising families & relationships and Christian fellowships among others.

Lately, gossiping has been accorded some fuel in the form of social media. Have you known of a baseless rumour that started out of the blue, spread like wild fire across all social media networks and by the time truth comes out, the damage is already done?

This should be of concern to us; not just as societal leaders but also a loyal citizenry.

*Why?* That person being gossiped about could be harmed emotionally and socially and if the outcome of the gossip is to spread negative private information, that could harm their reputation and affect their social standing or worse still result into the loss of something. Here therefore is a big call to responsibility, let's avoid or even restrain such behavior and devise means of managing grapevine that seems to be out of control.

We can decide to avoid fowarding none developmental and/or negative posts about someone on social media. "Let it not come from you". Why do we love forwarding baseless negative information?

How about, if you were in a group and some one starts negative gossip, you simply disengage from it by throwing a phrase like “I do not feel comfortable with the direction this conversation is taking” and if they insist, take a break while walking away from it. Just don't be part of the gossip.

I do recall a brave lady walked up to me (i was in my form 6 vacation at the time) and she started narrating how i was "talk of the previous day" while they were doing some land tilling and you know i come from Kabale where we do quite alot of digging. "We actually cleared out a parcel of land talking about you" she daringly added.
My response turned rhetorical to her. "So lady, why are you telling me now, will this information bring some food on my table?". She became "Cos 90" [grew pale & departed from] my presence. That's partly how you may fight this enemy. Just don't be party to negative energy but rather replace it with positive energy, for it adds value.

So the next time you're about to begin "kitandugaho"..remember the recipient's ear may be itching to listen in to the gossip but they're likely never going to trust you after that moment just because to their inner valuation standards, you
dropped some points off an integrity scale..with regard to safeguarding private information.

Wish you a pleasant weekend.


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