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Monday,October 22,2018 16:45 PM

Bunyoro pressure group sues UCC, Mutabazi

By Robert Atuhairwe

Added 17th October 2017 05:46 AM

BUKITAREPA, through M/S Ayena and Odongo &Co Advocates, allege that Mutabaazi used his position as UCC executive director to issue directives to radio stations in Bunyoro sub-region to stop hosting them, alleging that they were sectarian.

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BUKITAREPA, through M/S Ayena and Odongo &Co Advocates, allege that Mutabaazi used his position as UCC executive director to issue directives to radio stations in Bunyoro sub-region to stop hosting them, alleging that they were sectarian.

COURT

Bunyoro Kitara Reparations Agency (BUKITAREPA), a pressure group advocating for the rights of the indigenous Banyoro, has dragged Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and its executive director, Godfrey Mutabaazi, to Masindi High Court for allegedly infringing on their constitutional right of expression.

BUKITAREPA, through M/S Ayena and Odongo &Co Advocates, allege that  Mutabaazi used his position as UCC executive director to issue directives to radio stations in Bunyoro sub-region to stop hosting them, alleging that they were sectarian.

Dovico Batwale, the regional co-ordinator of BUKITAREPA, in his affidavit on August 10, 2017, said by the selfish directive of the second respondent, all FM radio stations operating in Bunyoro have since refused or declined to broadcast any programme or information by the applicant.

Batwale says this has denied the people of Bunyoro the right to information.

He said the applicant has been at the vanguard of mobilising the people of Bunyoro to press the state to recognise and enforce their rights to land and other rights as a marginalised people by reason of history.

Batwale avers that the only means of communication to the people of Bunyoro has been through FM radio stations operating in the region.

“The said directive (UCC) is against the dignity, welfare and interest of the people of Bunyoro and intends to undermine their status and as such is prohibited by and against Article 32(2) of the Constitution, among others,” he stated.

The applicant is seeking orders by court that the respondent retracts the directive to all or any FM radio stations in Bunyoro not to broadcast any programme or information by the applicant.

BUKITAREPA also wants a permanent injunction issued against the respondents, their agents, workmen and all from issuing any such directives.

Efforts to get a comment from Fred Otunu, the UCC Corporate Affairs director, were futile as his mobile phone was switched off by press time.

Mutabaazi in his May 25 letter directed that Radio Hoima, the oldest FM radio station in the region, be switched off air for allegedly hosting BUKITAREPA programmes which were viewed to be inciting violence.

He said the statements or utterances were in breach of the minimum broadcasting standards under Section 31 and schedule 4 of the Uganda Communications Act,  2013.

The radio station was re-opened two days later.

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