Ambrose Mwesigye, the Manager Life FM in Fort Portal who is now deputy RDC Hoima, while Africano Aharikundira, the manager of Kyenjojo FM, has been appointed deputy RDC Mitooma district. Veteran journalists Tuguragara Matojo Sulaiman Salongo and Henry Baguma are now RDC Lyantonde district and deputy RDC Sembabule respectively.
On Thursday, President Museveni made reshuffles for RDCs. A press release from the office of the President says the move is aimed at strengthening the monitoring of government programs. In the reshuffles, at least 62 RDCs were dropped while others were transferred. Only about 10 RDCs remained in their places.
The changes also saw youthful NRM party mobilisers being elevated.
In Western Uganda, those elevated included radio station managers in Fort Portal and Kyenjojo. They include Ambrose Mwesigye, the Manager Life FM in Fort Portal who is now deputy RDC Hoima and Africano Aharikundira, the manager of Kyenjojo FM, who has been appointed deputy RDC Mitooma district. Kyenjojo FM is owned by Aston Kajara, the State Minister for investments and MP Mwenge South.
Other media personalities who were appointed RDCs include Tuguragara Matojo Sulaiman Salongo, the former manager of Radio West, who has been appointed RDC Lyantonde district. Henry Baguma, a veteran journalist with the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), was appointed deputy RDC Sembabule.
The appointment of the radio managers has been viewed as a reward, because they have used the radios to heap praises on the NRM government and also deny air time to opposition politicians.
Life FM and Kyejonjo FM have on several occasions hosted NRM party officials and supporters on political talk shows free of charge but refuse to host opposition politicians and groups viewed to be critical of the government, even when they want to pay for airtime on the radios.
During the 2011 presidential campaigns, both radios refused to host Kizza Besigye, the former president of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), even when he had already paid for airtime. He later threatened to drag them to court.
Security operatives and district NRM party officials have on several times also written to Mwesigye and Aharikundira urging them to stop hosting individuals who incite the people against the government and Tooro Kingdom. Both managers have also attended military trainings at the National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi.
Joram Bintamanya, a resident of Fort Portal says that the President has rewarded the managers for stopping people from debating important issues that affect the people in the country. Bintamanya says that President should appoint people on merit and not simply allies.
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Steven Baguma, a member of the Kabarole district NRM party executive, says that he isn’t surprised by the appointment of the radio managers as RDCs. Baguma praises the managers for denying opposition politicians airtime on radio. He says that the opposition politicians often mislead people during talk shows.
However, Rusoke Nyakato, the deputy FDC women league chairperson in-charge western Uganda, says that it’s unfortunate the government is rewarding the managers for stifling political debate, which she says weakens the multiparty system.