Why is Mao getting more media coverage than even the Kabaka of Buganda

By Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Dear editor,
I've become more and more upset and discouraged by the blatant, biased journalism surrounding pre 2011 elections in Uganda. Some parts of the media in Uganda seem hell bent in helping president Museveni win the elections by covering him about anything and also promoting some divisive candidates among the opposition. The media has been promoting Mao ever since he was elected as DP president by one of the DP factions in Mbale. We are now left wondering whether Mao's popularity started with this election or before, because a good candidate should have been hitting the front pages for a long time even before they are elected party president due their established popularity on the ground. This biased reporting is a fine example of how the media carefully gets it wrong. The press has indirectly decided to declare president Museveni the winner of the 2011 race before the first vote is cast by creating the opposition candidate of their own and this is very unfair to Ugandans.

President Museveni can fool others with this Mao excitement from Mbale but not some of us. I have even got a feeling that the order to promote Mao in the media came from the above, because what he is getting in the media, is just too much out of nothing. How can the media start giving coverage to a person whose election as the president of a party is still in dispute? Note even the second biggest opponent to Museveni right now, which is Buganda and its Kabaka, can be accorded this kind of media coverage. Let us remember that some resolutions were passed last year by the Broad casting bosses in regards to the coverage of the Kabaka and Buganda affairs. Some journalists sympathetic to the Buganda causes lost their jobs lasy year and they aren't working up to now. Not the mention the fact that CBSfm is still closed.

The major debate going on in the media, in political parties and with their friends and allies is necessary. But it is also necessary to move beyond debate and create the clarity, that is, the basis for eliminating some candidates that look too divisive to the opposition. Something does not smell right with the Mao situation but hopefully everything will come out in the open in due course. You can't hide a bad smell forever in the closet. It always comes out at some stage. Mao may be personally innocent in this but president Museveni knows that by promoting him(Mao), he will confuse the voters in the opposition in terms of choice. They will not be sure whether to elect Mao or Besigye or anybody else, and the strategy seems to be working against the opposition at the moment. How they deal with it will define the 2011 electoral process.

Nevertheless, alliance or no alliance, we all know who NRM is most afraid of in the opposition, and that is Dr.Besigye. NRM and Museveni will do anything to make sure that he is not on the ballot paper in 2011, like they miserably tried and failed in 2006.They have still got the treason charges standing against him and I'm sure this will be raised at some point before the General elections, particularly if the Mao project does not work out for them. Besigye has been blocked from addressing people on various FM stations in the country, but Mao has not encountered the same experience so far, which raises more questions than answers.

I think broadcasters should devote reasonable time to fairly presenting all sides of any controversial issue discussed on the air. Uganda should emulate the Americans in this sense. For instance, between 1928 and 1929, when the republicans were in power, one radio station in NewYork owned by the socialist party was warned to show 'due regard' for others opinions and all stations were told to serve the 'general public' not themselves. Some Americans are also campaigning for the reinstatement of the 'fairness Doctrine' to prevent their nation from being swamped by exactly one point of view, that of corporations and the filthy rich, like it has been for the last 20 years, with everybody else rudely elbowed aside.

I also think that it's high time the NRM starts minding its own business and leave the opposition alone. NRM nneds to start looking after its own saucepan (KASEPEKI) and leave the opposition to organise themselves, as Bebe cool says in his latest song(KASEPEKI) on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KwfrDSeSW8 . We have had enough of politics of Sponsoring fake political parties and presidential candidates. Let the ground be levelled.

Byebyo ebyange
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba