30 November 2016

Uganda: Speaker Kadaga Accuses Media of Blackmailing Her

Photo: Daily Monitor
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, on Monday made her mind known to editors from different media houses, accusing them of being used by the mafia to bring her and the institution of Parliament down.

Speaking to editors at the second Parliament-editors media breakfast, Ms Kadaga said she has minutes of meetings where journalists meet with her detractors to plan her downfall.

She also castigated the editors for "always focusing on the negative" stories about her and Parliament saying it confirms that the reporting about the institution is skewed to conform to particular agenda.

"Do not do PR for me. Just report facts," she said.

She added, "On the issues of UNAA, no newspaper reported our side of the story where I personally read out the names of the 26 who went to UNAA including the MPs who funded themselves. But you all refused to publish that. You went with the number you wanted."

She demanded prominence in newspaper pages and asked that her side of the story should always be sought.

"You can never see the president or the vice president in inside pages but why put my story on page 34 and four days after the event happened, is that news?" she asked referring a story about her giving medical equipment worth billions of shillings to Kamuli hospital.

She further said, "I see that for all the other people you write about in your stories you bother to get their side of the stories, you even say that their known numbers were not available when you tried to contact them but that does not apply to me. You just write whatever comes up. That must stop."

Kadaga's comments put the editors on the defensive. Whoever stood to speak bothered to explain how their newsroom operates and how stories are placed.

Daily Monitor's Executive Editor, Charles Bichachi, however tasked the speaker to give an update on the editors' earlier request to have the appointments committee open to the public.

The speaker responded saying the House leadership wrote to the rules committee asking it to find out how easily that can be done.

"If I had a chance to have it open I would be the first to go for it. Having it closed puts on me a responsibility to keep secrets and leaves room for speculation," she said.

House commissioner, Cecilia Ogwal, didn't hide her disappointment with the editors who she accused of going on the defensive instead of speaking out.

"The speaker came out punching and we expected you to return the punch but instead you went on the defensive. That's not what we came expecting from this engagement. We expected you to tell us frankly where you think we are wrong," she said, ending her point by saying," as a punishment, eat all the food we have bought and finish it."

Uganda

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