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March 1-12, 2015

Media Monitoring Report for Uganda
Posted on March 13, 2015

Parliament Attempts to Sack Journalists
State-Owned Media

New Vision, March 12, 2015 – Parliament Backtracks on Ejecting Reporters

  • Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, has clarified allegations that Parliamentary Commission is out to remove leading journalists reporting on the Parliamentary proceedings
  • “All media houses should therefore disregard the content of the letter. There is no meeting that has ever taken a decision on this matter,” Oulanyah told the House
  • Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kiribige, wrote earlier to media houses to invite editors from various media houses to discuss a proposal by the Parliamentary Commission Journalists and the public became very angry with the move as it strove to kick out over 50 journalists, including 10 from the New Vision
  • according to the letter dated March 9, 2015, all media houses were to withdraw and replace their senior reporters and photographers who have covered parliament for more than five years
  • Clerk to Parliament Kibirige said the decision was made by the parliamentary Commission "in the interest of balanced media coverage" of the Parliament.
  • "This is to inform you that the Parliamentary commission has in the interest of balanced media coverage of parliament, made a decision to the effect that all reporters who have been covering parliament for more than five years be replaced…” – letter from Clerk to Parliament by Jane Kiribige
Privately-Owned Media

The Daily Monitor, March 12, 2015 – Parliament makes U-turn on decision to kick-out journalists

  • parliament reversed a decision to ban senior journalists from covering its proceedings
  • widespread criticism ensued and deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah had to reiterate that he was not party to a decision to stop 53 senior journalists from covering the House o Authorities struggled to explain away what some legislators called “an attack on press freedom.”
  • Mr Oulanya said the last time Parliament sat to discuss about media was on August 21, 2014 and the agenda was bad press.
  • “Since then, Parliament has not sat to discuss issues of the press. This letter (purportedly issued by Parliamentary Commission and signed by the Clerk) should be treated as a mere letter. It’s command has no effect and its effect should be treated like no effect,” - Jacob Oulanyah

Opposition for Museveni in 2016
Privately-Owned Media

The Observer, March 9, 2015 – Mbabazi courts Besigye, Muntu

  • John Patrick Amama Mbabazi has asked several opposition leaders to embrace him as their joint candidate, in private talks
  • Mbabazi is telling opposition leaders that he has more name recognition in the country and he is better-placed to defeat Museveni in 2016
  • as early as November, he had started contracting political activists at Makerere University, civil society groups and opposition politicians
  • Mbabazi meets his guests separately either at his private office at Crested towers or at his palatial residence in Kololo
    • Does not allow guests to carry any electronic gadgets such as mobile phones and iPads – apparently for fear that conversations might be stealthily taped or tapped
  • many politicians believe Mbabazi is the biggest ‘thing’ to happen to the anti-Museveni movement since Kizza Besigye in 1999
    • Last week politicians insisting that they had never met Mbabazi and feigned ignorance of what is becoming the Mbabazi project
  • “He has met most of them only that they will not mention it. But effects of his meetings are now visible because even those that were previously opposed to him have of recent started calling him a good man whom they can work with,” - Opposition Activist (anon)

The New Chief Justice Denies Museveni’s Vested Interest
Privately-Owned Media

The Observer, March 11 , 2015 - Katureebe: I will build a strong, independent judiciary

  • After 10 years on the Supreme court bench, JUSTICE BART KATUREEBE was last week appointed chief justice of Uganda.
  • Katureebe has denied that while appointing a chief justice, the president looks at other factors such “tribe” and the cherry picking his justice leaders

Somali Community Chairman Denies Accusations of Bribery
State-Owned Media

New Vision, March 12, 2015 – Somali chairman clarifies on ID registration for Somalis

  • Somali Community Chairman in Uganda denied soliciting money from Somalis for registration of National Identity Cards
  • Hussein Abukar Hassan was reacting to reports from a local tabloid. Accused him of soliciting between $1,000 - 2000 to grant Somalis Uganda National Identity cards
  • Accusations that Abukar calling for registration of Somali nationals residing in Uganda to register while he appeared on a Universal Somali Television Channel
  • Addressing the press at his Kisenyi offices, Hassan denied the allegations, saying it was an attempt to tarnish his image
  • “It is true that I had an interview with the Somali Universal Channel TV last month but much as I called upon the Somalis who had resided in Uganda for over 20 years to register, at no one time did I mention that they have to pay me $2,000,” - Hassan
  • Hassan made the distinction that he was urging Somalis to take the opportunity accorded to them by the Government of Uganda through the Internal Affairs ministry to register
    • “It this through this association that has united Somalis living in Uganda and the cordial working relationship between us and the Uganda government that we got the chance for the Somalis to acquire Ugandan IDs,” he said.
    • “Those allegations have been going rounds since last year but the SIU that received the allegations investigated and found them as totally false,” said Hussein Hassan.
  • When contacted, SIU commandant Charles Kataratambi dismissed the claims
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