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Uganda: Bloggers tangle with mainstream media

The blogren had their collective eye on Uganda's mainstream media this week. Tumwijuke at Ugandan Insomniac took reporting matters into her own hands following the lethal collapse of a secondary school building constructed on top of a ransacked graveyard, including several powerful photographs in her coverage of the tragedy:

Following below are a few pictures of graves at a family cemetery that was located on land which St. Peter’s Secondary School is reported to have ‘unlawfully’ acquired. The grave stones were carelessly knocked aside, bodies carelessly exhumed and dumped at an unknown location and this was on the same plot of land that the collapsed building was located. In fact the grave yard was less than 20 meters away from the new dorm.

No one from the affected family was willing to speak to me on record about the desecrated graveyard. They whispered about being paid to look the other way and being threatened into silence. Neither the school management nor the owner, Dominic Kavutse, were willing to comment.

Multiple comments on the post praised her for reporting the incident:

Those pix of the grave are so horrifying. How could they do that and go on as if everything is normally. You are a star for taking those photos. No newspaper has done that.
***
She treads where the brave dare not go. Girl, you deserve an award for uncovering these gruesome things in our very backyards.
***
i think this blog is finally teaching us all why there are blogs anyway. citizen journalism oyee!

Meanwhile, Moses Paul Sserwanga spoke out against the arraignment of two Daily Monitor senior editors following their exposure of a salary scandal involving the Inspector General of Government and High Court judge Faith Mwondha:

This is indeed a story of trepidation where offences which are against the spirit of our constitution are preferred against journalists to keep them forever in a state of fear.

The charges are basically designed to harass and intimidate journalists in the exercise of their constitutional rights to inform the public about the conduct of government/public officials.

But the citizens of this county must stand up and not allow our fears to be far outweighed by what we know is our obligation – to protect the provisions of our constitution. To help those who are victimised for the ideals they stand for; freedoms of liberty, speech, association and media not to feel alone.

And Nappy Brain took the government-owned New Vision to task over their response to a reader's question about statutory rape:

Did I get this wrong or didn’t this woman just say that a young girl/woman in her care was being raped repeatedly by her husband? Didn’t she say that the rape of this minor in her house has been going on for 2 years? Did she not also say that this young woman was in her care and that she had no one to turn to and nowhere to go after her father died?

So, why does the New Vision advise the woman to “work things out” with this rapist? Why does she advise her to send the girl away so she can work things out with her husband?

Our national newspaper advises women everywhere to mistrust the word of another woman who has been raped and instead side with the offender by attempting to restore some kind of relationship with him.

On a lighter note
In the past week, Uganda has played host to two famous visitors: the instantly identifiable Sex and the City star Kristin Davis and the somewhat less recognizable German president Horst Köhler. Glenna at Uganda's Scarlett Lion, assigned to cover Köhler's visit for the Daily Monitor, was bemused by his relative anonymity:

At one point during German President Horst Koehler’s visit to an [Internally Displaced Persons] camp just outside of Gulu, Northern Uganda, he looked to some of the IDP kids, then looked to his translator, and asked, “Do they know who I am?”

Pause.

“No.”

(I didn't know who Kohler was until I got the assignment last week.)

Both Köhler and Davis, who works as a global ambassador for Oxfam, toured northern Uganda to learn more about the region's ongoing civil war. Ugandan celeb-tracker Rafshizzle caught up with Davis in Kampala:

…And we missed her arrival but Rafshizzle Sherlocks worked overnight and found her at Oxfam Uganda headquarters in Muyenga as she presented bicycles to youths who won the climate change competition.
Davis, who is also the global ambassador for the international aid agency Oxfam then said, “This is my first visit (to Uganda) and I am really looking forward to meeting the people and seeing the country.”
Well, we’re also happy to see you, Ms Davis, but why were you hiding from us?

3 comments

  • I am ashamed to say I didn’t know who the German president was either. I actually thought that Germany was currently being run by a woman. And to make matters worse, I instantly recognized Kristin Davis name. Maybe this world is coming to an end (eek lol!)

  • Mwangi, I can’t keep up with international politics either! Germany has a parliamentary system. The head of the government is the Chancellor, and she is Angela Merkel. the President of Germany is the head of state, and steers clear of day to day politics. I hadn’t heard of Horst Koehler before Uganda’s Scarlet Lion post either. Just goes to show what we can learn from Ugandan bloggers.

  • So the head of government is a woman (confusion???!!) Yeah, it’s weird. I learned more from this one conversation about a Ugandan blog about the German political system than I did watching CNN.

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