UCC Suspends two Political Talk Shows

Ekitanganzo was being aired every week on Thursday, while Orukurato on Saturday.

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The Uganda Communication Commission-UCC has suspended two poplar political talk shows on Hits FM, a local radio station in Fort Portal. Orukurato and Ekitanganzo have been airing on Hits FM since February last year. The panel on both talk shows includes district and municipal leaders, MPs, human rights activists and civil society members. The shows have been focusing on accountability of public funds and service delivery. Ekitanganzo was being aired every week on Thursday, while Orukurato on Saturday. Willy Magezi, the Manager Hits FM says that he received a directive from UCC to stop airing both programs until they investigate the content of the talk shows.

He claims that in the letter, UCC claims that talk show guests incite violence against some government officials. According to Magezi, the radio was also told to avail recordings to the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC), of all political talk shows and programmes for investigations. He says that the suspension of the two talks could have been engineered by local politicians.

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In a telephone interview, Nulu Byamukama, the proprietor Hits FM confirmed to Uganda Radio Network that he received communication from UCC complaining about the two political talk shows. Byamukama, who is an NRM MP representing Kitegwenda County in Kamwenge District, also says that he was told to adjust on the content of the talk shows and broadcast development projects of government instead  of controversial political issues. William Gonza, the moderator of the talk shows told Uganda Radio Network, that last year on December 29th, he was supposed to host Alex Ruhunda, the MP Fort Portal Municipality, but he was stopped by the manager who told him that the talk show had been suspended.

When contacted, the chairman Godfrey Mutabazi, the Executive Director Uganda Communications Commission refused to comment on the matter saying that he was busy attending a meeting. The suspension of the two talk shows comes a month after detectives in Fort Portal demanded for audio recordings from Hits and Better FM after they were accused of defaming the First Lady and Minister For Karamonja Affairs, Janet Museveni. Detectives allege that the panelists referred to Janet Museveni as a thief, who had embezzled funds meant for people of Northern Uganda.

Speaking at a thanksgiving service he hosted at State House Entebbe last year, President Museveni threatened to shut down radio stations that host indisciplined civilians. Museveni accused his critics of using radio stations to create disharmony and de-campaign development projects.