TORORO, Uganda. The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is investigating the Tororo based EAST FM (100.2) for alleged reports of fueling ethnic woes, promoting sectarianism and malicious propaganda, The Investigator has established.
The Executive Director UCC Godfrey Mutabazi in a letter dated June 22 that The Investigator saw, gave the station two weeks to file its defence or face closure.
According to a petition filed to UCC, for several months now, EAST FM owned by Tororo tycoon and former Municipality MP Sanjay Tanna has been on the airwaves fueling ethnic violence between the Itesots and the J’opadhola.
Usher Wilson Owere who personally filed the petition at UCC along with gathered audio evidence recordings from the station said the investigations against EAST FM were long overdue. ‘We can’t just seat back and watch as a local FM radio station is used by selfish and failed politicians to cause mayhem among the community. The law should take its course,” said Owere.
The Investigator has learnt that police detectives from the CIID have been sent to investigate some of the EAST FM radio staff who are accused of individually using their status to promote hatred through hate speech. A senior detective attached to CIID in Kampala revealed to the Investigator that scores of EAST FM staff shall be interrogated over their involvement in spreading of what he described as ‘malicious propaganda’, blackmail and sectarianism. ‘We have instructions from the ICT minister (Frank Tumwebaze) and UCC to carry out further investigations on EAST FM in Tororo,” said the detective ACP who preferred not to be named.
He said they are particularly concerned following another case filed by Tororo Municipality MP Apollo Yeri Ofwono, also the NRM chairperson for Tororo who was blackmailed in the social media pages (Face Book) of EAST FM on June 25th 22. Other leading personalities attacked in the EAST FM Face book included NRM Electoral Commission boss Dr. Tanga Odoi, and Oboth Oboth, the West Budama South Member of Parliament. Also facing the wrath of the EAST FM abuse is Makerere University Don Prof. Joe Oloka Onyango and former Tororo district chairperson Emmanuel Osuuna.
The Investigator has established that President Museveni has instructed CIID boos director Grace Akullu to have those fueling ethnic tension in Tororo investigated and prosecuted. When contacted on Friday, Grace Akullu would not respond to our calls, as he aides she was locked up in a meeting with the IGP, Gen. Kale Kayihura.
The president, we are told is due to meet the Tieng adhola cultural head H.R.H Moses Owori this Sunday July 25 when he will make his decisions regarding the creation of Tororo County district. Government Spokesman and Uganda Media Center Boss Ofwono Opondo revealed that the issue of removing Tororo Municipality from the current district is out of question.
The Investigator has established from intelligence sources that those lined up for investigations are former minister and Tororo County district die-hard supporter, Hon Paul Etyang, former Tororo Municipality MP Sanjay Tanna, who owns EAST FM, Daniel Ayeet Onyanga, a staff at EAST FM and administrator of the MALABA Wikileaks (MAWILIKS) that is accused of using its platform for spreading hate speech and malicious propaganda, among others. Efforts to get a comment from the above were futile as they declined to pick out calls.
Officials from UCC are now in Tororo said closing of EAST FM will not be the first. “Once evidence is adduced that the radio is violating the regulations set by UCC, we close it until they reform,” said a UCC official leading the investigations.
Earlier this year, Radio Hoima 88.6FM was shut down for two days after UCC got reports that it was persistently hosting Bunyoro Kitara Reparations Agency (BUKITAREPA) members who were sectarian.
Fred Otunu, the UCC Corporate Affairs Director says any radio station that violates and doesn’t adhere to the broadcasting license conditions risks being closed down.