By Henry D Gombya, Managing Editor
Today we take the unusual step of having an editorial as our headline story. We are doing this in the wake of what has happened in Uganda in the last couple of weeks and what transpired yesterday during President Yoweri Museveni’s State of the Nation speech that we carried Friday.
Following the closure of two Ugandan media houses last month by what one can undoubtedly refer to as the dictatorial regime of President Museveni, Uganda is slowly but surely descending into a state where its own people are living in utter fear of those in power. As it is known everywhere, the work of the media is to hold to account those in power. The media is the eyes and ears of the ordinary man and woman on the streets who have no way of knowing what authorities are doing on their behalf.
Since the end of a police siege at the offices of Uganda’s main English daily, the Daily Monitor, the press in Uganda is succumbing to what usually happens when those in authority make it impossible for journalists to hold them to account. Perhaps fearing that the state machinery would come down heavily on them again as happened to the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers, journalists are now choosing their words very carefully and have indicated fear that any article critical of the government would end up with the Uganda police force paying them a visit.
On Thursday we witnessed yet another incompetent and quite pathetic speech by a man who, without doubt, has had his best days. Not even the government-owned newspaper, the New Vision could find a proper way to approach the speech, ending up with just about 400 words of the speech on their website. We did much better with our correspondent writing over 1000 words.