Soroti; 31st/December/2011; The minister for Relief and Disaster preparedness in the Ugandan government, Musa Ecweru stormed the studios of Kyoga VERITAS Fm radio and issued threats of arrest and intimidations to the guests in the studio.
Ecweru, 48, is the Amuria county Member of Parliament. He shot into the limelight in 2003 when he mobilized the locals in the area to confront the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels.
The weekly Saturday talk show, ‘Teso na Ikoto’ loosely interpreted as ‘The Teso we want’ was featuring the opposition Forum for Democratic Change’s secretary general Alice Alaso who is also the Serere Woman MP and Uganda People’s Congress’s Julius Ocen who is the former Amuria district chairperson.
Ecweru had been invited to the program but pulled out in the course of the week.
The moderator of the program, Stanley Okello said he was very surprised to see Ecweru storm the studios just as the show was ending 5 minutes past the regular time of midday.
“He emerged unexpected, grabbed one of the microphones and announced live on air that all the people in the studio+ were under arrest and should go straight to police and record statements. I tried to calm him down but he was very furious. So we added more time for him to react to the issues at hand but he went personal attacking the guests in the studios who appeared unmoved.” Okello Said.
He told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that most ruling party members, the NRM were reluctant to come to the studio when invited over, “They don’t want to come and appear on the talk show, and it seems they don’t want the show to go on either. At the end of the day they blackmail the radio station as anti-NRM”.
However, since the incident occurred on 31st-December-2011, Ecweru has declined to talk to the radio management and has kept his cell phone off. HRNJ-Uganda made fruitless efforts to talk to him.
The station manager of Kyoga VERITAS Fm, Francis Egadu told HRNJ-Uganda that they are not scared of such, since they conduct the program in a professional and balanced manner.
“We have not received any threats since then and we will continue conducting the program in our usual way.” He said.
“This is gross abuse of power by the minister. If he was aggrieved in any way, there are clear avenues to seek redress other than storming the radio and threatening the participants. HRNJ-Uganda would therefore urge those in public offices and powerful positions to restrain themselves from abusing the freedom of others and the media to debate national issues.” Notes the Program Coordinator, Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala.
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road Mengo Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Pre. School
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
Website: www.hrnjuganda.org BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com