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Respect public opinion, stop threatening media – MP Semujju

By Jeff Andrew Lule, Mary Kansiime

Added 20th September 2016 08:49 AM

Semujju also said the Speaker should stop threatening the media but rather check on what they are trying to raise.

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Semujju also said the Speaker should stop threatening the media but rather check on what they are trying to raise.

PIC: Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party spokesperson, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda addressing journalists during press conference at Forum for Democratic Change headquarters in Kampala on September 19, 2016. Photo by Mary Kansiime.

The Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Semujju has called on fellow MPs to listen to people's criticisms than attacking the media.

Semujju, also the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party spokesperson, said the Speaker should stop threatening the media but rather check on what they are trying to raise.

The MPs recently accused the media of publishing damaging stories aimed at tarnishing their image. This followed reports on MPs' demand for sh200million for cars, travel to UNAA and the proposed sh68m for MPs' burial, which MPs claim are intended to ridicule and put the image of Parliament into disrepute.

"We are very concerned that they now want to investigate journalists. I accept the media is not above criticism but I also think Parliament should also learn to listen," he said.

Adding: "If the public you represent says what you're doing is wrong, you then don't visit your anger to the media. You listen to what the public is saying. We should allow feedback," he said.

He said this while addressing journalists at the party's at the party's weekly press briefing at the party headquarters.

Semujju said Parliament does not need to hire public relations officers to speak for them, saying they only need to do the right things.

"When we had the Ssekitoleko motion in Parliament, you attracted protests including that from Civil Society. Just one action by the Speaker, that matter is no longer a burden to Parliament. So what the Parliament needs is to consistently continue doing the right thing, and will get good publicity.

But to hide, you continue doing the wrong thing and then attack the media so they don't highlight them, then you are an Ostrich hiding its head under the sand, when your other body parts are exposed outside ," he added.

Semujju said if any policy receives a public backlash, then it can be revisited.

"If the public is uncomfortable with spending sh68m on burial on MPs, we can reduce it to sh5m. I don't think the quarrel should be with the media," he added.

Semujju was also concern with the high expenditure of MPs, saying there is need for a revised policy to address the issue of transport for all public officers, to reduce expenditures.   

"I am going to move a motion in two months' time to deal with the matter of transporting people working in public offices. We need a policy which clearly stipulates on who should get a vehicle and how they are disposed off in case they get new ones among others. Not every public officer should drive a government vehicle," he said.

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