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NRM Buys Prime Time from all Radio Stations in Kitgum

Kitgum has five radio stations that include Jambo FM, Mighty Fire FM, Peace FM, Pol FM and Tembo FM broadcasting in the districts of Lamwo, Kitgum, Agago, Pader, Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro, parts of Karamoja, parts of Lango and South Sudan.

Audio 6

Opposition candidates in Kitgum are crying foul after reports that the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party bought off airspace from all FM stations in the district.   

Kitgum has five radio stations that include Jambo FM, Mighty Fire FM, Peace FM, Pol FM and Tembo FM broadcasting in the districts of Lamwo, Kitgum, Agago, Pader, Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro, parts of Karamoja, parts of Lango and South Sudan.   

But opposition and independent candidates say that all the five radio stations have each devoted more than six hours of prime time to the NRM party every day. They say that the NRM blocked all the airtime over the last one week, denying access to other political players.   

Charles Ocaya, an independent candidate for the Chua West parliamentary seat says their efforts to book radio airtime in the morning and evening peak hours has been unsuccessful.  

He says that the NRM party has also influenced the radio managers not to broadcast campaign adverts and messages from opposition candidates within the hours they have paid for.   

//Cue in; “I have got...   

Cue out...lies you see.”//

Luo//Cue in; “NRM guculu...  

Cue out...konyo wun.”//

  

According to Ocaya, this deliberate denial of freedom against the opposition is not only meant to influence unbalanced media coverage but also compromises the ability of electorate to make informed decisions.    

The NRM district party chairperson Jimmy Ayella George says that the NRM bought space between January 5 and January 12, to mobilize support for party candidates ahead of polling day.  He, however, says that the radio talk shows were purchased in consultation with the radio managers after realizing they were not yet sold off.    

//Cue in; “because when we... 

Cue out...to other people.”//     

Luo //Cue in; “wan macalo NRM...

Cue out...kacamo cawa wa.”//      

The NRM District Administrative Secretary Geoffrey Nyero says that their bookings are exclusive only to disseminate NRM content. According to Nyero, they are under strict instructions from the party’s national’s secretariat to appropriately utilize the paid media spaces to rigorously promote their presidential candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and their flag bearers at different elective positions.    

Nyero now advises their opponents in opposition to utilize off peak hours or opt to use other media platforms that include news coverage, drama, campaign music and radio adverts to disseminate their messages.     

//Cue in; “we have been...

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Luo //Cue in; “wan watye... 

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However, a station manager at one of the radio stations who preferred anonymity refuted being influenced by the NRM party not to broadcast paid for campaign adverts.     The acting District Chairperson for the Forum for Democratic (FDC) party Morris Oyoo Santo says that it is unethical for the ruling party to deprive other candidates of an opportunity to use mass media to reach out to the electorate especially in the last leg of the campaign.        

Oyoo says that the NRM party is now becoming the biggest obstacle to a free and fair poll process, by taking away the citizens right to information from other opposition candidates and parties contesting the elections. He, however, advises other opposition and independent candidates to consider the usage of mobile public address community road drives and social media campaigns to disseminate their manifestos to the electorate.