March 2019
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Month March 2019

WAFULA OGUTTU: OUR POSITION AS PEOPLE’S GOVERNMENT ON POLITICAL TRANSITION


This is our focus for the immediate future.
After Museveni, we must have an all inclusive Transitional Administration for at least five years within which period, we must among other undertake the following tasks :

1. Review the Constitution.

2. Rebuild and strengthen State institutions and political Parties

3. Heal the country by carrying out truth telling, justice and reconciliation

4. Organize free and fair elections as required by our Constitution.

For the elections, we propose that the three top most leaders, i.e., Head of State and Government, the Deputy President and Prime Minister must agree publicly and sign it off accordingly that they will not contest for any elective public office in the general elections organized by the Transitional Administration.

Wafula Phillip Oguttu,
Minister for the Presidency,
The People’s Government.

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Accepting money/gifts from people and organisations we cover


By Edris Kiggundu

Journalism ethics world over stipulate in BLACK and WHITE that journalists are not supposed to accept any gifts/money/facilitation from the people or organisations that they cover. The genuine fear is that this money/gifts will compromise the journalists who may not be able to deeply scrutinise the activities of these people/organisations.

To a large extent, I agree with this assertion. What defines people is their reputation and for journalists, the standards are higher. You cannot be the one pointing out how corrupt some public officials are,when you are stuffing your pockets with money left, right and centre. Your reputation will take a hit and few people, including the organisations/people that give you money, will take you seriously.

Yet having stated that, we must also place into context the situations under which some journalists accept money or gift from people and organisations they cover. Here, I am being a REALIST not IDEALIST. I once asked a respected senior journalist what, in his view, constituted a bribe from a news source?

After a long pause, the award-winning journalist told me that “you can know that a news source is trying to influence your coverage of a story through offers of money/gifts. It is an instinctive feeling… But there are people/organisations that could give you money out of appreciation for what you have done. That may not constitute bribery.” That was the view of
the senior journalist who us still active and occupies a very senior position in one of the most influential media houses in Uganda. He is also one of my mentors.

In countries like Uganda where you cannot easily divorce journalism practice from the social and political context, the issue of taking/receiving money from people/organisations must be looked at from many angles. Journalists become susceptible to bribes the moment their organisations neglect to facilitate them or pay them well. Many journalists who work for local FM stations in Uganda fall in this category. Some organisations cannot afford to facilitate their journalists to cover basic functions and organisations will step in. Some news organisations simply don’t make money (In the TV Broadcast industry only three TV stations in Uganda turn in a profit). In other cases proprietors of some of these media organisations are only business oriented with little regard for funding journalism. Thirdly, some stories in Uganda cannot be covered without some form of facilitation from the interested organisation/news source. They may involve huge expenses and risks. Take election coverage for instance.

Have I taken money/gifts on some occasions from people or organisations that I have covered? Yes I have. I even pointed this out in one of the posts here last week. I have attended workshops and trainings where per-diem is offered and I have pocketed it. I have also been “appreciated” several times for the stories I have covered by people I know. I have accepted facilitation and taken the ambiguous “transport refund” from FDC, NRM, UPC and DP, including food and refreshments at their functions. I have been facilitated by organisations within and outside Uganda in the course of my work. The UPDF once flew me and other senior journalists to cover floods in Soroti. They in addition “refunded our transport”. The US State Department facilitated me generously to attend a journalism fellowship at the University of Southern California in 2006. I came back with some good money which I never declared to my editors at the The Observer. The UK government/Reuters facilitated me to cover UK elections in 2015. One NGO met my bills for a trip to South Africa in 2011. The Turkish government funded me and other journalist for a benchmarking trip. I have also been handsomely paid as a facilitator by some organisations to train their people in media related matters. I have also given money/gifts to some of the news sources to obviously buy their favour ( I once gave fuel to an MP…a story for another day). This, many media analysts will tell you, is also wrong. One thing I have never done is to extort money/ put someone at gunpoint from a person/news source/organisation under the threat: If you do not give me this..I will do this..” I don’t think these facilitations/appreciations have influenced the way I cover these organisations and people. But this may not be for me to judge. Like I said, in countries like Uganda, the issue of what constitutes bribery is thorny and divides debate. I have seen editors chastise reporters for accepting 20K (a pittance really) as transport refund from an organisation, as they accept gifts and gift hampers worth millions from the same organisations. I have also seen some senior news managers fight juniors for foreign trips funded by private organisations, simply because there is some monetary benefit. I have also seen and witnessed situations were some editors have sat on stories simply because they hit out at people/organisations that regularly fund them. I have seen news organisations drop stories in exchange for adverts from an organisation which is being scrutinised (which I think is a direct form of bribery clothed as a business transaction). The managers are quick to retort that “these are the people who pay your salaries.” In short the practice of accepting money/gifts and other forms of facilitation by journalists and media organisations is rife in Uganda and elsewhere. This is not about to end. In my view individual journalists have the responsibility to exercise sound judgement in situations where they think they are being compromised by a news source/ organisation and act accordingly.

No KB supporter is in prison who is not under the care of Besigye


By Ronald Muhinda, FDC supporter,
No one is in prison who is not under the care of Besigye. He provides with lawyers, supports their families etc. I can assure you that it’s well known where Mugumya Sam and others are, their condition in Ndolo Military Prison and there is direct contact with them for years. They also receive monthly financial support of $500-1,000 to take of their basic needs in prison.

Mugumya and others will be freed without making any compromise with Museveni. Those methods of compromising with Museveni are a preserve of DP members. I am telling you this so you can stop this blackmail against Besigye. What he goes through to keep even your DP members afloat is unimaginable.

In 2016, they were saying Museveni looks at Besigye as very vengeful and therefore will not hand over power him in fear of retribution foe all Museveni has done to him.

So they proposed Museveni can only hand over to Mbabazi or Muntu. No when Museveni didn’t hand over to them, the narrative has changed to Besigye and Museveni are the same.

When journalists came to the rescue of Balaam Barugahara


By Edris Kiggundu of the Observer

*When journalists came to the rescue of Balaam Barugahara*

Political campaigns are some of the most hectic events not only for the candidates but also the hordes of journalists who trail these candidates. Personally, I have covered three presidential campaigns (2006, 2011 and 2016). In 2006 and 2011, I trailed Dr Kizza Besigye for The Observer. In 2016, I covered President Museveni for the same newspaper. In all those campaigns, I moved with the candidates virtually every inch and space of this country. The most eventful campaign for me was that of 2006 when Dr Besigye, fresh from South Africa, took the country by storm. His rallies were ecstatic but were also filled with tension given the kind of challenge he had put up against the incumbent, Yoweri Museveni. Every now and then at his numerous rallies, there would be shouts of “spy, spy” from his supporters especially when they saw unfamiliar faces in the crowd. One day while campaigning in Busoga, my friend Balaam Barugahara was identified as a “Museveni spy” by some FDC youths. Balaam, still largely unknown then, had hitched a ride in the press van with a number of journalists including this columnist. He told us he was a genuine supporter of Dr Besigye and wanted to find ways of promoting him. In fact on several occasions, he tried to seek audience with KB through his aide Sam Mugumya but he had not been successful. So back to that day, a group of youths chased Balaam from a rally, ready to lynch him. He quickly found his way into the Press Van as the angry youth bayed for his blood outside. When he entered the van, Hussein Bogere, a senior journalist from Daily Monitor and I immediately shielded him (Some FDC youth then including the current Makindye East MP, Ibrahim Kasozi, never forgave me for this). As the van made its way from the rally, I practically sat on Balaam until after a safe distance of about 2 KM. Never the person to give up, Balaam returned to the campaign (something I thought was suicidal) and soon, he was manning Besigye’s car with Mugumya. They would guard the car in turns. Today, the fortunes of the two have changed. Mugumya is incarcerated in jail in DR Congo, while Balaam Barugahara, is a budding young millionaire and proud supporter of the NRM. I still don’t believe that back in 2006 Balaam was a Museveni mole. Until up to around 2011, I think he was a genuine Besigye’s supporter but as his business profile grew and realised that to make it bigger you had to be in the good books of government, he made a strategic decision to support NRM, which controls the state coffers. That was entirely his personal choice, which I respect.

JOURNALIST KIGGUNDU’S ASSESSMENT OF BESIGYE


By Edris Kigundu,
Throughout my journalism career, one question I have constantly encountered from colleagues and other people concerns my political inclination. Which political party do you support? I have been asked.
Many people have said I support FDC. Others, have broadly classified me as an opposition supporter. I have also met some opposition supporters and friends who suspect that I support NRM. Once during an internal NRM meeting called to design a media strategy for the 2016 elections, a senior party official was asked “why she often defends Kiggundu” against the charge that he is an FDC supporter.” The senior member, obviously leaked to me this info.

The truth is that having worked for a relatively independent media house for a long time (The Observer), my political views have been shaped largely by what I have seen and covered. I have covered more stories on local politics and its injustices suffered mainly by the opposition (including violent demos). This also means that there are more people on the opposition side that I freely associate with than those on the side of the NRM. This means that I am far from being considered an objective person. I am not because my views are tinted with a certain bias. I however try to be fair. In the opposition I have a soft spot for…some of you have guessed right… Dr Kizza Besigye, the former FDC leader. I have seen him at some of his lowest and highest moments and I have seen many people who have made conclusions about his personality without really understanding him well. I have interviewed him more than 10 times (and he can be a handful for an unprepared journalist). I have also held private conversations with him countless times on a wide range of issues. He is one of the few people I know who reads widely in fact, more than many academics I know. He is very cerebral and very organised in the way he approaches issues. He keeps time to a hilt and will call early to apologise if he cannot make it in time for an appointment. He is also literally a moving ATM machine and has contributed to so many causes (tuition, cars for officials, houses, funded journalists). Being an opposition leader certainly comes with many responsibilities. That said, Besigye is not perfect. He has a million and one weaknesses, like all of us. He can be intolerant to divergent views and I know some party officials who have been on the receiving end of his tirades in internal meetings. Even journalists or media houses he perceives to be critical of him have not been spared either. Then he has the habit of denying, sometimes shockingly, what he has said using the common refrain: “I was quoted out of context.”

I remember the U-turn in 2015 over contesting in the elections and The Nile Post interview when he downplayed Bobi Wine’s presidential chances. Lastly, having “fought” and “sacrificed” heavily for political freedom over the last 20 years, he believes he is entitled to “his territory” will not treat whoever tries to encroach on it lightly. That is my personal reading of his current tension with Bobi Wine. He thinks people should be appreciative of what he has done and accord him the respect he deserves. Overall, I rate Besigye very highly compared to the calibre of politicians we have on either side on the political aisle. He is extremely intelligent and has a high degree of integrity. I think he (and Gen Muntu) could be the most genuine opposition politicians I have encountered in my career. But I am not blind to some of his personal weaknesses (and those of his ardent supporters).

I think President Museveni must be laughing his head off


Bobi Wine


By Edris Kiggundu, The Nile Post Journalist

I have heard supporters of one of the presidential hopefuls echo his call for people to go and register for national IDs ahead of the election. Mbu, this will guarantee that they will vote come 2021 and remove Museveni. I think President Museveni must be laughing his head off. So someone thinks with a mere ID, he can remove Museveni’s government which designed the national ID system, controls the data base and can still change rules of engagement at the last minute? Some of these gullible fellows have never found out why voting materials in parts of Kampala and Wakiso could not be delivered in time at the respective polling stations. The same fellows think one will just flash a national ID in the faces of the polling officials, vote and bang! Museveni will be history. If that is their main election strategy then the son of Kaguta still has many years at the helm of this country without breaking much sweat.

UGANDA’S DISAPPEARED MORAL COMPASS


By Bobby Alcantara
Dr Ugandans,

Have you ever cared to wonder about Uganda’s collapsed moral compass? It seems we now live in a lawless jungle where norms of civiilised behaviour, such as honesty and integrity, and respect for the elders, are now just irritating reminders of a golden age long gone.

Take my example. I am not a rich man, but I try to help people in my village because they are the real family I have, even though I have not seen most of them since I was a teenager. Apart from my own family, I currently help a number of poor people in my village, mainly the elderly and aged or the very sick who have no income. I provide a basic income for them of about £15 per person, per month. I spend £600 of my monthly salary providing for this basic income for the poor in my village.

But last week, I sent some money to an old sister in law- she was married to my eldest brother who died many years ago in a motor accident and her children have since also died, so I support her because she has no other means of survival. She was a bit sick last week, so I sent her £100 ie Shs 490,000. She got the money, but gave it to a young man who was living with her for safe keeping. . He promptly announced the money stolen after only a few hours, and when she rejected his explanations, he beat her up so badly, causing serious injuries.. The poor woman has now left her own home, and is sheltering with my mother for fear of any further attack. In the meantime nobody there would help this woman when she was coming under this sustained, brutal attack by a young man.. Even the so-called police have not intervened as they want a bribe. . It is now left to me, here in London, to look for this thug and get him arrested and prosecuted. I am going to get him, make no mistake about this, but you can understand my disgust.

What has happened to our country? Where is the peaceful and respectful Uganda that I knew gone?

M7’s son will salute any president in Uganda!


Patrick Kamara: Do you think General Muhozi would salute you if you won the 2021 elections?

Hon.Kyagulanyi: The difference between us is that you live in the past while I am working for the future where the military is subordinate to civilian authority

I suppose you know it; in the army there is a code of conduct that compels every member of the force to do what he/she is expected to do. A junior officer will respect the senior, and the simplest of such expectations is greeting, “saluting”.

So if Gen. Muhoosi is a real soldier, he will obediently and professionally do what is expected of him; and he will also know the penalty for doing otherwise, insubordination which can have all sorts of interpretations, which will be very bad for him.

Interestingly enough, a junior who salutes his senior and his greeting not returned, can report the matter to a more senior officer and the erring officer will likely be reprimanded, but they are usually smart – they pretend not to have seen the small man, as they know the repercussions, and the effect on morale of the force.

Gen. Muhoosi will salute any president in Uganda, Kamara whether elected or usurps power, his salute from Gen. Muhoozi is guaranteed!

Peter Simon

PICS : Lovely Air Hostesses Lost In the Ethiopia Airways Plane Crash. May Their Souls Rest In Peace.


PICS : Lovely Air Hostesses Lost In the Ethiopia Airways Plane Crash. May Their Souls Rest In Peace.

PICS : Lovely Air Hostesses Lost In the Ethiopia Airways Plane Crash. May Their Souls Rest In Peace.

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet to Nairobi that crashed early on Sunday carried passengers from 33 countries.

The airline said there were no survivors, according to the state broadcaster.

The flight left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8.38am local time, before losing contact with the control tower just a few minutes later at 8.44am.

“There are no survivors onboard the flight, which carried passengers from 33 countries,” said state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, quoting an unidentified source at the airline.

At Nairobi airport, many relatives of passengers were waiting at the gate, with no information from airport authorities.

“We’re just waiting for my mum. We’re just hoping she took a different flight or was delayed. She’s not picking up her phone,” said Wendy Otieno, clutching her phone and weeping.

Robert Mutanda was waiting for his brother-in-law coming from Canada.

“No, we haven’t seen anyone from the airline or the airport,” he told Reuters at 1pm, more than three hours after the flight was lost.

“Nobody has told us anything, we are just standing here hoping for the best.”

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