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UJA Founder Kintu Musoke: Election Malpractice Among Journalists Big Shame

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Kintu Musoke then a journalist with the African Pilot and Charles Binaisa a Journalist with Uganda Argus started UJA in Accra, Ghana in 1963. They had gone at attend a Pan African Union of Journalists conference that was hosted by the Late President Nkwame Nkrumah.

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The founding father of the Uganda Journalists Association (UJA), Kintu Musoke says he has been hurt that after 50 years, journalists in Uganda still cannot organise orderly and fair elections.

 

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network (URN) from his home in Masaka, Kintu Musoke said 50 years was long enough for journalists to learn something about running elections.

 

Kintu Musoke who had been co-opted by the organisers to extend an invitation to President Yoweri Museveni, said the organisers had let down the profession.

 

Kintu Musoke then a journalist with the African Pilot and Charles Binaisa a Journalist with Uganda Argus started UJA in Accra, Ghana in 1963. They had gone at attend a Pan African Union of Journalists conference that was hosted by the Late President Nkwame Nkrumah.

 

Kintu Musoke who rose to become Uganda's Prime Minister (1994-1999) and Charles Binaisa who had been invited as individuals. The two journalists, however, felt embarrassed to attend the conference as individuals because other journalists had come under associations. They therefore decided to register themselves as members of a none existent Uganda Journalists Association.

 

The association was then regularised on return and Kintu Musoke, then 25 years old, was formally elected UJA President at the first assembly held at Uganda Club.

 

During their days, Kintu Musoke said it was only paid up members that were allowed to participate in elections.

 

Kintu Musoke noted that Thursday's acrimonious election is not the first in UJA's history. He said that elections often end in a group splintering from UJA to go and form a rival organisation.

 

Kintu Musoke now 76 said UJA was dear to him and had been scheduled to attend but lost his sister and was unable to attend.

 

Haruna Kanaabi, a former Secretary General of UJA, says the association elections especially UJA President is always hotly contested and controversial.

 

However, he observes that it’s only during election time that one will see journalists taking an active role in the affairs of the organisation. Their interest fades shortly after the elections.

 

He says journalists usually divide themselves up into two camps: the so called the uneducated and the elite who ally with government.  Kanaabi says this was the same state of affairs when James Namakajjo was elected President beating Wafula Oguttu.

 

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Wafula Oguttu, then supported by Charles Onyango Obbo, left to form the Uganda Newspaper Proprietors Association (UNEPA).

 

Kanaabi says only the removal of intrigue and promotion of transparency will help an organisation go forward.

 

He observed that Journalists in Uganda today need a strong voice and protection that should they fail to strengthen their association; government will always continue to generate policies and laws that affect press freedom.

 

Kanaabi thinks what happened at the UJA election was a reflection of the elections in Uganda.

 

Kanaabi ends on a high note observing that all the bickering in UJA shows it’s a strong organisation which needs everybody’s support.

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