Good Morning Fellow Citizens at the New Vision,
My name is Vincent Magombe. I am a Ugandan News analyst and broadcaster based in the UK. I am writing to you concerning the article you recently published on your pages about Dr. Kizza Besigye’s victory in the Constitutional Court of Uganda. This was the decision to quash the treason and terrorism cases against Col. Kizza Besigye. The article can be accessed on line at:http://www.newvision.co.ug/detail.php?mainNewsCategoryId=8&newsCategoryId=12&newsId=734918
First, let me congratulate the New Vision for publishing this story, which is clearly bad news for the government. Most Ugandans expect the New Vision to act like a public media instrument, rather than a State propaganda tool. Publishing a story which proves that the current NRM government under President Yoweri Museveni has grossly violated the constitution of the Republic of Uganda, and that the pro-government security forces acted (and must stop acting) in such a wanton, illegal and anti-people manner, is something we must all celebrate.
We hope that this new trend at the New Vision will grow and mature, and that the unravelling electoral period will become a true test of the professionalism of the New Vision editors and journalists, whereby they will show Ugandans that they (the New Vision media fratenity) can be objective, even-handed, and always on the side of the Ugandan people, rather than a biased, partisan, and anti-people organ.
What we now expect of the New Vision is for our ‘good professional friends’ to start focusing on other similar important national matters and issues, where quite clearly the government has got it wrong, and is acting in unconstitutional ways.
The most immediate case, which is about to hit the corridors of the much respected Constitutional Court is the one being prepared by Ambassador Olara Otunnu and the UPC Party – regarding the Electoral Commission.
At the heart of the arguments, in the UPC petition to the Constitutional Court, will be the unconstitutional and illegal manner in which President Museveni extended the employement contract of the EC Commissioners, without prior agreement with all the stake holders, i.e the other political parties, and Ugandan voters as a whole. The issue of a deffective Voters Roll is another central matter.
The Questions that has to be put to our New Vision media fraternity is “Why aren’t we seeing vibrant, informative, and unbiased stories, reflecting this very important national matter? Why are we hearing from the UPC Party that their President, and indeed the Party itself, are being BOYCOTTED by the New Vision, which seems apprehensive or perhaps afraid of publishing their views on the Electoral Commission? Where is the objectivity, non-partisanship, national character of the New Vision?” The UPC President has recently launched a major initiative – THE NATIONAL SOCIAL MOVEMENT, whose Positive Non-Violent Resistance for FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS deserves adeqaute and proper news coverage. It is an important national story. Just like the UPC case being taken to the Constitutional Court, the National Social Movement story is one that could determine how events in our dear country are shaped come the 2011 elections and beyond.
Is it that the New Vision does not see the crucial nature of the problems relating to the Electoral Commission? Doesn’t the New Vision not believe that it is unconstitutional for the EC to act and perform as an arm of NRM Party, or an extension of President Museveni’s office?
It is almost unbelivable that our most enlightened professionals at the New Vision do not seem to appreciate the simple truth that Electoral Commission is required by constitution of Uganda to act and be seen to act as an independent, unbiased, and non-partisan organ. This means that the way the EC is constituted and established must mirror this independence, and non-partisan character. At the moment, what is in place is clearly a pro-President Museveni/ pro-NRM Electoral commission. This is overtly illegal and unconstitutional. The appointment letter for the EC Commissioners should have had the signatures of all the stakeholders.
It will be very nice to get some form of response from New Vision on the matters raised above. Actually, wouldn’t it be so wonderful if this letter was considered for publication in the New Vision, as the issues at hand are, no doubt, of the greatest interest and importance to most Ugandans who read the paper.
Once again, congratulations for the strength and good will you have shown in publishing the strory about the resounding victory of Dr. Besigye and his Team.
We hope you are not deliberately waiting to exclusively publish the story about the END-GAME for the Kigundu-Electoral Commission, when the Constitutional Court finally rules that “The current Electoral Commission is an illegal and unconstitutional outfit, that is therefore ordered to stop functioning with immediate effect.”
As professional media practitioners, Ugandans expect you to be at the heart of discussions and debates on crucial national matters all the time – not just when these matters go to the nation’s highest courts.
Dear New Vision Editors, I salute you,
With the Best of Regards,
Dr. Vincent Magombe
Africa Inform International