Top seven Ugandan Blunders for May 2013 This month the institution of Parliament featured with lots
of crises. This month we witnessed different organizations doing something about their crises. Outstanding advocacy PR tools were used during the closure of Monitor publications which is commendable. They used the courts of law and the Court of Public opinion to their advantage. They shared the uncertain future of children who benefited from Monitor scholarships.
Figure 1 Daily monitor website
Media siege by Uganda police The Uganda Police obtained a search warrant authorizing the search of the Daily Monitor and Red pepper premises for the letter allegedly written by General Sejjusa. Uganda police closed Red pepper and Daily monitor together with two radio stations after declaring them crime scenes. The Uganda Police responded with excessive force which attracted unnecessary attention. East African Newspapers carried an editorial on media siege. The media siege dented the Ugandan image locally, regionally and internationally. Most critics think the government should have handled the media issue better. International and regional newspapers, US Embassy
in Uganda, Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU), politicians, human rights activists, and members of the civil society condemned the media siege. The most famous hash tag was ‘#mediasierge’. Uganda police ignored a court order instructing them to vacate monitor premises. Police found this to be highly irregular. On May 30, 2013, Media houses were allowed to resume operations. Daily monitor’s reopening following 11 days of police siege was allegedly after negotiations with government according to a government statement. This introduced a debate on future compromised editorial policy of the Daily Monitor. Monitor publications has since responded to the issue in Public notices “Monitor: What we agreed with government” reassuring the public about their editorial policy of publishing all news as long as it is in public interest. IGG opened fresh investigations at NSSF The Inspector General of Government started wide ranging investigations into National Social Security Fund over allegations of fraud and corruption by a whistle blower. Some allegations relate to alleged irregular Umeme Shares purchase, disposal of Land at Namirembe, joint venture with SBI for planned housing estate at Lubowa among other concerns. This is a heavy blow to the fund manager at a time when it has embarked on a rigorous re-branding exercise. NSSF is not new to funds mismanagement scandals. Scandals at NSSF have in the past resulted into sacking and prosecution of former top leaders. NSSF has since embraced good PR tools to set the record straight by responding to the allegations. Employees are yet to witness the renewed promise by the new NSSF. Expelled NRM MPs VS NRM The Speaker of parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga ruled that the four expelled NRM rebel MPs cannot lose their seats. NRM Secretary General, Mr Amama Mbabazi had demanded the speaker to declare the MPs’ seats vacant after their expulsion from NRM.NRM has since registered aspirants for the posts in case they fell vacant. The matter of rebel Mps has since gone to court. This has yielded to grounds. This follows a case in court relating to the expelled MPs. Alleged forgery of the final KCCA petition recommendation report. The report was presented to Parliament with ten out of 17 members on the committee signing it. The report followed a petition on alleged mismanagement of KCCA to parliament through Hon. Betty Namboze Bakireke (DP, Mukono Municipality). The report recommends that President Yoweri Museveni takes over the executive functions of KCCA for six months. Members on the Committee of Public Service and Local Government raised doubts over its authenticity. The committee Chairperson and her deputy are said to have locked out the Clerk out of the parliament as the concluded with the report. The local government committee had a stormy meeting which ended prematurely with members exchanging bitter words. This was also aired on some local Televisions. Improper conduct of some members of parliament projected the institution negatively. The Deputy Speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah ruled that the office of
the Clerk investigates the authenticity of the KCCA.KCCA report forgery allegations is a dent on the integrity of parliament. Missing Uganda diplomatic passports Police started a hunt to recover at least 200 diplomatic passports suspected to have gone missing from the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control. The Deputy Police Spokesperson, Mr Patrick Onyango, said the diplomatic passports had already been made but the only procedure not done was the placing of names and photographs of the bearers and their titles. Some officials from Immigration were arrested as investigations into circumstances under which the passports went missing continue. There are several Ugandans holding diplomatic passports illegally who are facing criminal charges abroad. This has been an embarrassment to Uganda. Former junior minister was allegedly arrested in India with a diplomatic passport. The Immigration passport department has released press statements declaring their position on the same which is recommendable. Irene Namubiru arrest in Japan over illegal drugs Namubiru was arrested at Naita Airport Japan after her luggage was found with illicit drugs. she claimed that she had no idea about what was in the luggage she was given to deliver. Irene was scheduled to perform in Japan. It remains a PR scandal though most Ugandans felt Irene Namubiru was a victim of a set up. All events were confirmed by Interpol officials in Uganda. Some bloggers shared a theory portraying it as a PR stunt as a build up to her upcoming album launch. This is a negative dot on her image. There will always be online negative search results about her. Colleagues and relatives organized a church service to pray for. This was a good PR tactic tool utilising the court of Public Opinion. Namubiru tweeted after her release and date of return. She had a hero’s welcome in Uganda. This is still an ongoing crisis. Irene’s manager then Thadeus Mubiru has since made a public apology over the same. Kim Tumwesigye was arrested by the police over the scandal. Irene struggles on to save her image. Judge Choudry Vs Judge Yorokamu Bamwine There has been an exchange of attacks between High Court judge Anup Singh Choudry and the Principal Judge, Yorokamu Bamwine. Judge Yorokamu Bamwine kicked out Judge Singh Choudry from his chambers. On March 28, 2013; Chouldry delivered a judgment in the case ordered the partners in the firm to pay shs 37b in damages. Uganda law society petitioned against his appointment in 2012.Chouldry was discontinued from practicing law in England after his firm reportedly got in trouble and was subsequently closed in 2001. Some people believe that Chouldry slapped the hefty award on the lawyers to hit at Uganda law society for questioning his eligibility. Critics feel the two judges would have opted for appropriate forums to talk peace.
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. email@example.com Blog: http://mediasurgeon.blogspot.com/