Kato Mivule | September 14, 2009
The events that happened this past weekend in Uganda and in particular Buganda leave one to wonder what the future in Africa holds. It is sad that lives had to be lost just because the Ugandan Government felt it wise to restrict the movement of its citizens within their nation and chose to use extremely excessive force in stopping demonstrators who then turned violent as they saw their civil liberties being denied.
The violence of both Museveni’s Government and the Demonstrators was uncalled for. Yet still it is the Museveni Government that is to be held accountable for the 20 or so people who were killed because the Government forces opened fire directly at the protestors. The demonstrators were unarmed and in no way did they warrant such deadly force.
It is therefore serving that Global Governments especially in the West call Museveni’s Government to account. There is no reason at all why Museveni ordered the killing of 20 innocent unarmed demonstrators. One fears that Uganda is slowly and quickly turning back to the Idi Amin – 1979 Era.
Uganda’s government did not find it satisfactory to shoot and kill innocent unarmed people but chose to have a News Blackout by closing many Radio Stations, TV Stations and arresting and torturing many in the Media who were simply doing their Job to report the news. President Museveni claims that the Media was inciting Violence, a charge he cannot and will not sustain in Ugandan Courts of Law. For Uganda’s Judiciary has never been friendly to Mr. Museveni and the next ‘war of riots’ will be between Museveni and the Judiciary as the Uganda’s Activist Judges throws out most of the cases.
However, the issue here insofar as technology is concerned is the deliberate failure of Uganda’s News Media to hold Mr. Museveni accountable by employing Technology to report news to the outside world that in turn would put pressure on Mr. Museveni to stop brutalizing and killing his own citizens.
It is as if Uganda’s News Media did not learn anything from the Iranian Crisis in which local citizens kept news flowing to the outside world despite the ‘Media Blackout’ by the Iranian Government.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging anyone to riot; my issue is with reporting news. There is absolutely no reason why we should be kept in the dark concerning what is happening in Uganda in the age of Technology and the High Speed Internet.
Take for instance CBS FM the Buganda Radio Station that was taken off Air, they used to have a website years ago but they don’t even have a Free Blog that they can post news that they directly source and collect. Another radio is KFM which belongs to Monitor Newspaper; they don’t have any web presence at all. It is only Radio Saptienca with a live stream and Website but no Twitter Account and no Face Book Account.
It was only Independent Magazine by Andrew Mwenda that tried to keep the rest of the world updated by what was going on in Uganda and thanks to www.twitter.com/#kampala among other twits, news kept flowing.
Monitor Newspaper tried but failed and seemed to faze out news updates when the reporters went to sleep.
Yet CBS FM which has an audience of over 10 Million Listeners should have been proactive and invested in a website or at least a free Blog page that they could employ to update their listeners in Uganda and also the huge Baganda and Ugandan Following in the Diaspora.
There is no reason why CBS FM does not have a Twitter page and FaceBook Account. There is no reason why CBS FM does not at least post news updates and Podcasts on Free hosting sites such as YouTube etc, most of these services are free and with the money that CBS FM generates, they can employ a Techie to oversee such assets.
Even if CBS FM was shut down, Mr. Museveni cannot shut down the Internet…that is way beyond his “intellectual” and physical capabilities of the gun…President Museveni cannot arrest the Internet…
I hope CBS FM learns from this lesson wakes up. If Buganda and Mengo wants to win the Media War between them and Mr. Museveni, then they must embrace Media Technology and stop relaying on Analog FM Broadcasts alone as the way forward.
Yet still even tech savvy Media Outlets like NTV and WBS TV still failed greatly at keeping the world informed at what was happening in Uganda, NTV used to post news updates on YouTube but stopped. The NTV website is never updated and since they work hand in hand with Monitor Newspaper, then they had better aggregate news on their site. Not even NTV has a Twitter account.
WBS TV tries to aggregate Ugandan news on their website but often the site is never updated and one finds news that is three month old and no new information. The goal of the Media should be to report news and hold African despotic leaders to account using today’s Technology and becoming creative at it. Simply crying foul that Museveni has shut down Radio Stations is not enough.
It is high time that Uganda’s Media fully embraces Technology, get reporters Blackberries, iPhones, and Google Phones and perhaps Mr. Museveni will think twice before brutalizing, shooting, murdering, and killing his own citizens who freely exercise their right to demonstrate unarmed next time.