Topfour UgandanPR disasters- March2013 PR is relatively a new profession in Uganda and as such people tend to relate it to propaganda.

Few agencies and organisation have taken crisis management as a pivotal role of PR seriously. This list is not aimed at attacking individuals and organisation. It offers a professional PR insight into Crisis management in Uganda. I hope that Lessons shared can better the PR fraternity in Uganda. I commend the inclusion of Best Crisis Management Award category in the PRAU Excellence Awards. PR Practitioners need to stop leaving entire Crisis management to the legal departments. They should fully be involved.

1. Suspensionof Fr Musaalaby the CatholicChurch. Archbishop of Kampala Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga suspended Fr. Anthony Musaala, who authored a document criticising Catholic Church colleagues in Uganda, accusing them of sexual crimes among others. Mismanagement of Fr. Musaala‘s saga by Catholic Church put it in the media spotlight. The Archbishop was quick to suspend and give explanations without assessing the magnitude of the crisis. The Catholic Church prolonged the crisis when they over reacted. Fr Musaala would just be transferred to another place or a commission of inquiry publicly instituted but not sacking him. And going public about the move was wrong. As Christians who preach forgiveness, the idea of peace talks would be good. All efforts should always be done to stop crises from growing. It was a delicate time especially that the Pope was just settling in. According to the Archbishop Dr Cyprian Lwanga,Fr. Musaala was suspended for the document, which “damages the good morals of the Catholic believers and faults the church teaching”. Fr. Musaala admitted to authoring the document which widely circulated on the internet after being leaked Fr. Musaala’s letter sparked public debate concerning celibacy in the Catholic Church. The saga also attracted enough media attention. He was hosted on highly rated shows and made it to the front page of daily Newspapers.

2.

Tullowoil‘s allegedbribeto PresidentMuseveni

It was alleged that Tullow considered bribing President Museveni with $50million ahead of the 2011 elections. After several media reports, President Museveni issued a directive through his lawyers’ instructing Tullow Oil to respond within three days to the allegations. The story was an embarrassment to the president who is the fountain of honour. Tullow Oil later refuted bribery allegations and apologized to President Museveni. Tullow’s response was restricted because this court case against Heritage was still on-going. President Museveni has since instructed police to probe Oil bribery allegations made in a London court.

3.

Tullow pays expatriate Shs9m daily for a year

Tullow Uganda paid a one-man consultancy firm about Shs9 million per day for one year to teach its officials about “organizational effectiveness”, an investigation by a local newspaper revealed. Tullow Oil says the cost was borne by the group, critics say ‘organizational effectiveness’ could have been taught by local consultants. The claims highlight the lack of goodwill because a lot of the expenses incurred by oil companies fall under “recoverable costs” that the oil companies will claim back from Uganda when the oil revenue starts flowing in. The report points to an old concern of in the Oil sector. 4. Uganda court rules against Hima Cement transparency

On March 26, Justice Eldad Mwangusya took away Hima’s mining rights to limestone deposits in Kasese, western Uganda. The ruling affected its image and operations in a number of ways. The ruling invalidated all transactions and legal rights because Hima does not have a legal basis to carry out business in the country. East Africa Gold Sniffing was contesting a decision by the Ministry of Energy that restored Hima’s mining rights after the latter managed to secure an exploration license over the same area. Hima Cement went back to court and appealed against the ruling requesting for stay of execution.

Ivan N. Baliboola The author has worked with some of the most well-known and influential East African brands, conducting marketing, Public relations, strategies, crisis management, and social media. He is a proud Award winner of the prestigious Public Relations Association of Uganda excellence Awards. He has volunteered his life to addressing environment and health related causes. He is also a blogger, professional critic, and strategist. nbaliboola@gmail.com

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