When news came in that all journalists who had reported at Uganda’s Parliament for more than 5 years would be “retired” reactions sounded like life had come to an end for many of our brothers and sisters who work in that big house. A friend of mine on social media tagged me in a comment where he was quoting the Leader of Opposition RT. Hon. Wafula Oguttu as the author of this so called ‘taboo’ for reporters who have been long at Parliament to be changed. Well since they wanted to know what Wafu as commonly referred to thinks about the development, I called him and he had this to say;
I expect any journalist worth the salt to have the facts before he or she publishes. Why are our Parliamentary reporters making unfounded accusations against an innocent man? I have no idea about what they are accusing me of. At the same time I am a bit surprised that our Editors see no problem keeping reporters in the same position and desk for over twenty years running! I would not do that.
After listening to Wafula Oguttu and other members of Parliament who did not want to come in open and express their views on the matter, I now believe that it is important that the discussion on this matter be considered serious and as a matter of national importance. My very first question is why is it that these journalists would choose to go up in arms when a proposal to move them from Parliament to another work station was mentioned? Why do MPs push for a change of this crop of journalists out of the corridors of Parliament? And why not move them? Some of the journalists reason back citing seniority, experience and accuracy as areas to consider in this debate. But wait a minute,where is balanced REPORTING and how come other MPs are complaining that they are not covered because they are not ready to part with money? And on this note, I have to breathe in and out; so what is exactly goes on in this house? What is going on in the really big house? Why the corridors are busier than Kikubo downtown? Why is it a matter of life and death for both parties?
This reminds me of our brothers and sisters of Kasokoso when they were being displaced, they said; where are we going? We don’t have where to go this is our only place of abode. In this case our journalists at Parliament have nowhere to go, our noble and hardworking men and women cannot report anywhere else. They are too parliamentary that when you took them to another work station, they will still quote certain names of legislators in their reporting even elsewhere. When people overstay in an area they tend to develop that sense of ownership and comfort that they cannot see themselves leaving or work elsewhere. I think our society is quickly learning from its leaders you enter a place, entrench yourself and anyone who wants you out will have to shed blood, yes use force to remove you from there. This lesson has been grasped well, well enough that we are now a society of untouchables.
Our society doesn’t want to take blame. When that letter surfaced. Everyone who was copied in the letters seemed not ready to say their mind except one man; the Leader of Opposition Wafula Oguttu. Now it makes it even interesting that the journalists managed to have the Deputy Speaker of Parliament of Uganda swallow his own vomit.
The letter ejecting senior journalists should be treated as a letter and not as a command. The letter shall not come into effect until when parliamentary commission comes up with a formal decision. I urge members of the press and all MPs to keep this matter now as it is because the letter shall not come into effect.
All I can say to those who want to change reporters at Parliament of Uganda, to forget it because our reporter Byakali mboko. And this reminds me of one old man who doesn’t want to leave a certain office in Nakasero; he can’t leave because he has nowhere else to go. Hehehe Mama Rhoda Mpaka Omunanansi…