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Mukono Diocese Struggles to Setup Radio Station

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The Bishop of Mukono Diocese, James William Ssebaggala notes that they haven’t given up on the process of acquiring a frequency for the station in Mukono district and attributes the delay to the change of leadership at UCC.
Bishop James William Ssebaggala of Mukono Diocese.

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Mukono Diocese is struggling to operationalise a radio station after failing to secure a frequency. In 2018, Mukono Diocese solicited Shillings 200 million from Christians, borrowed a loan of Shillings 300 million from Equity Banks and another Shillings 100 million from the Mukono diocesan Sacco to set up Mukono Broadcasting Services-MBS.

The applied for a broadcast frequency from telecom regulator, Uganda Communications Commission-UCC in vain. As a result, management bought off Voice of Busoga (89.8) in Jinja from Captain Mike Mukula. The diocese set up a studio on the upper floor of its administrative block and a tower in Mukono last year but UCC declined to authorise transfer of the frequency from Voice of Busoga. 

Currently, Mukono diocese spends money to maintain about seven staff at Voice of Busoga whose contracts are still running. The Bishop of Mukono Diocese, James William Ssebaggala notes that they haven’t given up on the process of acquiring a frequency for the station in Mukono district. He attributes the delay to the change of leadership at UCC.

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But Ibrahim Bbosa, the Director of Public and Corporate Affairs in UCC, faults the diocese for failing to follow the Commission’s guidance particularly on transferring a frequency assigned for a particular region.       

“However, I am reliably informed that the diocese has provided additional information for the Commission’s consideration. This information will be reviewed and evaluated in line with established guidelines to ensure that the matter is concluded,” Bbosa said.

According to the Radio spectrum policy guideline for Uganda, portions of the spectrum can be transferred between authorised parties to an interested party with permission from the Commission in line with certain procedures. This is done in consideration of competition safeguards and a harmonised use of the frequencies in accordance with the national table of frequency allocations.  

Fredrick Mukasa and Eseza Nairuba, say the radio station would play an important function in a situation like the current lockdown where congregational prayers were suspended to control the spread of Covid19. “Right now if UCC is not granting us permission to operate it means we fell out on guidelines so were conned of a spectrum that cannot work for us,” Mukasa said.