PHOTO: Speaker Anita Among, Opposition Chief whip JB Nambeshe and other MPs in a group photo with UPPA newly elected leadership headed by Sam Ibanda Mugabi. Francis Lubega who lost to Mugabi was also invited in the photo
BY: MOSES MUGALULA
THE Speaker of Parliament, the second arm of Government Rt. Hon. Annet Anita Among has responded to the Opposition Chief Whip Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe’s call for a peaceful, smooth and transfer of power in Uganda.
Hon. Nambeshe one of the top ranked opposition leading National Unity Platform (NUP) members made these remarks yesterday Friday at Parliament during the swearing in of Parliament journalists’ body (UPPA) newly elected President Sam Ibanda Mugabi and his executive.
Nambeshe who represented Leader of Opposition (LOP) at the function, congratulated and saluted Parliament journalists for demonstrating a peaceful and smooth transfer of power.”
This was after New Vision’s Moses Mulondo handed over power to NBS’s Ibanda Mugabi after serving two UPPA constitutional terms as President.
Mr. Mugabi defeated ‘hustler’ Francis Lubega in one of the hottest races ever at Parliament. Mugabi was declared winner after polling 76 votes while Lubega bagged 64 votes and conceded defeat. He even attended the swearing-in function and wished the new president good luck.
However, over 115 UPPA journalists did not vote.
Looking at how free and fair the process of electing UPPA president and handing over power by the former president Moses Mulondo to Sam Ibanda Mugabi is what irked most Opposition Chief Whip JB Nambeshe.
He said, “As a country, we are eagerly waiting for a similar process. In fact, we would like to emulate you but there are impediments on the way. Our prayers and desire is to get a similar peaceful transfer of power in this country.”
SPEAKER ANITA FIRES BACK: THERE IS PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF POWER IN UGANDA
Addressing journalists, Members of Parliament present and other invited guests, Speaker Anita Among started by shooting down NUP’s JB Nambeshe’s statement that Ugandans are hungry for a peaceful and smooth transfer of power.
Without mincing words, the ruling NRM Party Bukedea district boss Anita Among said, “There is peaceful transfer of power in Uganda. And we will still have transfer of power to the person who wins ‘for president’ and once you win, there will be transition, whether it is the same person.”
Every after five years, Ugandans elect their new president in a General election.
NRM’s candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has so far won seven elections since 1996 General elections.
Speaker Anita advised opposition to stop baby tears, go and look for votes and when they win, will definitely be declared else, they will keep singing ‘peaceful transfer of power’.
AMONG CONGRATULATES IBANDA MUGABI & LUBEGA, LECTURES JOURNALISTS ON PROFESSIONALISM
In her educative speech which lasted for about 20 minutes, Speaker Anita who doubles as Patron Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA) welcomed journalists to Parliament of Uganda saying, “We have always said, This is the peoples’ centred Parliament. And once you are here, you feel at home. This is your home, this is where you work on day to day basis, and we will ensure that we give you a conducive environment.”
Speaker congratulated the newly elected UPPA President and and his executive, “And also congratulate Mr. Francis Lubega for putting up that wonderful contest.”
She thanked the out going leadership for the good work done both for the Association and Parliament.
“Your leadership has done a lot and now we expect a little more from the new leadership. As the parliament fraternity, our expectations are too high. A call to leadership is a call to service.” Noted Madam Speaker.
The soft speaking Anita Among turned to lecturing Parliament journalists on how they should report responsibly about Parliament work and Parliamentarians cautioning them to desist from being used by wrong people to taint Parliament and blackmail Parliamentarians.
She said, “Don’t allow blackmail of members of Parliament, much as there is freedom of expression as by Article 29 (1) (a) we respect the freedom but whereas we do so, you must be professional enough as you express that press freedom. Your professionalism is very important because you are reporting for Parliament, the 2nd arm of government after Executive.
Citing the recently passed Computer Misuse Act, Speaker Anita reminded journalists that, “How you report, what you report matters! Because everybody will be expecting to hear from you. And as a reminder, what you report must be with in the law. The Computer Misuse Act is in place. This business of hate Speech and unsolicited information is very very dangerous. Please do the right thing. You have heard I am madam Action, I may Act. When I see you doing the wrong thing, I will act.”
She told Ibanda that the task ahead of him is very clear, to guide his colleagues towards the path of professionalism. They should do work professionally and then adhere peacefully to the professional ethics of journalism.
“The other day i was complainig of how somebody can write that MPs have increased their salary by 40%. Why don’t you write what you know? If you don’t know, please don’t write. And when you talk about unauthorised access of the information. You are not here to look for information that you are not supposed to access. If you think you are going to get unauthorised information which is even not correct, then the law will catch up with you. That is the computer Misuse Act.” Anita, who was hailed by UPPA outgoing President for perfectly steering 11th Parliament, told journalists.
As a Patron, she said her work is to advise UPPA members to do the right thing at the right time. On information they are not sure of, she advised them to always go back to Parliament and ask.
Among says, what journalists owe Ugandans is to give them the correct information, keep them updated time to time.
“Don’t give them what will bring problems in the community. As journalists, do research, have your facts, be objective enough and then you adhere to the legal frame work that regulates professionalism. Please report with facts, evidence based! Because some one will drag you to court and will have nothing to rebuttal since you have no facts.” Urges Speaker Anita.
Among who massively defeated JEEMA’s Asuman Basalirwa in Speaker elections last year said will ask CPA department at Parliament to ensure that UPPA members get all the information they want.
Injecting UGX 50M into UPPA SACCO, Anita assured Journalists of her support saying her office will put measures that are conducive enough for them to do the work.
“But when you fail to do your work professionally, we shall use stick and carrot! We pray that we work together so that you don’t fail to be with us here.” Said Anita who is known to be a very strict and principled lady.
‘MEDIA ON TEST’, SAYS OPPOSITION CHIEF WHIP
On media professionalism, Hon. JB Nambeshe said he see challenges as media practitioners’ adherence to their professional code of conduct.
“The question is, how do you guarantee that strict adherence to your professional code of conduct especially in a country, with an environment where a quater of the revenue generated by your media houses comes from advertising and the most financially lucrative advertisement comes from government?” Asks opposition Chief Whip adding, “And the owners of these media houses definitely are long on profit making and may be very short on truth telling. And that be so, may arm twist or even compromise you given that your pay is worrying. So it is here where you have to draw a line between your ethical conduct and paying allegiance to the powers who have adverts.”
He said the other challenge faced by media is when you hold the powerful institution like Parliament to account.
MUGABI’S MAIDEN SPEECH
Thanking Rt. Hon. Speaker for her acceptance to grace the swearing in of the UPPA leadership, President Ibanda Mugabi said, “As we start our two years’ term journey as leaders of UPPA, Madam Speaker, we believe and commit that our leadership will have a cordial working relationship with the Parliamentary leadership.”
For starters, UPPA is a body that brings together over 255 journalists. Some come from local media houses whereas some come from international media houses like BBC, Aljazera, CNN and many more.
Ibanda a senior journalist at the fastest growing Next Media said that journalism has become one of the world’s most dangerous profession.
“Madam Speaker, of recent, there has been increase in violation of journalists’ rights not only by men in uniform but some members of the public that do not understand the importance of media. This impunity creates violence and weakens democracy.” Says Ibanda in his maiden Speech, adding, “Our dear patron Rt. Hon. Speaker, with your able leadership, we request you to do more to protect the state of journalists and bring those responsible for attacking media, to justice.”
Ibanda asked Parliament to organise induction trainings for journalists covering the House saying this will improve on the quality of UPPA journalists.
“Madam Speaker, we also propose a quarterly engagement with members of the Fourth Estate. This will be a platform for your office to explain to the public the achievements of parliament in that particular meeting in that session and what they should expect in the next session. Leader of Opposition and Government Chief Whip should also have such engagements with UPPA.” Said Ibanda, a request which Speaker gave a green light.
He asked for support towards the procurement of the UPPA van saying it will help transportation of members in times of need like when a member loses his or her dear ones.Speaker Anita assured them of her support on this.
Ibanda saluted the outgoing UPPA executive headed by Mr. Moses Mulondo, for the job weldone during their tenure.
He also thanked Francis Lubega for participating in the election and asked him to bring his good ideas on table and work together.
To his colleagues who voted him their President, Sam Ibanda Mugabi assured them in the presence of his immediate boss at NBS Dalton Kaweesa that he will never disappoint them. “We shall together make UPPA stronger”.
HERE IS THE FULL UPPA NEW LEADERSHIP
- President: Sam Ibanda Mugabi (NBS)
- Vice President: Gloria Gwitabangi (UBC)
- SG: Apollo Tusiime (Salt Media)
- Deputy SG: Damali Mukhaye (Daily Monitor)
- Treasurer: Rachel Nakassi (Bukedde tv)
- Secretary Discipline: Joseph Sseruwooza (Dream TV)
- Rep. Online: Ronald Kabuubi (Kmaupdates)
- Rep. Print Media: Moses Kiwuuwa (New Vision)
- Rep. Radio: John Ssebadduka (CBS Radio)
- Rep. Tv: Fred Kajubi (Urban tv)
- Secretary Welfare: Nickson Bbaale (Channel 44tv)
- Secretary Women Affairs: Joweria Namagembe (Tagy Tv)
- Organising Secretary: Sarah Nakandi (See tv)
- Chairperson: Ronald Galiwango (NTV)
- Secretary: Godfrey Ssali (Radio One)
- Treasurer: Josephine Namulooki (The Observer)
Members: Sarah Nandawula, Lucy Lapot, Nabagereka,
Loan officers: Chairperson is Ronald Tweheyo, Secretary Namayanja and member Julius Adiga