Fire Works As Top Journalists Flex Over NRM Bribes

The Observer’s Shifa Mwesigye set the ball rolling when she inadvertently accused Charles Odongtho (Uganda Radio Network) of accepting bribes from NRM for favourable coverage of Yoweri Museveni’s recent presidential campaign.

“So if Fred Opolot (Uganda Media Centre) approaches you with his money, dosage as he is going to, view what will you do/say?” Shifa posted on Uganda Journalists face book forum. There have been Media reports that UMC intends to wet the beaks of scribes for fair coverage of the oil sector.

As members discussed, Shifa said: “…For example Isaac Imaka was covering the same NRM campaigns that I did. He says journalists profiteered from the campaigns, God knows where he was when other journalists were signing payment ledgers that he probably has in his possession and is about to publish on this site in a few minutes.”

She added: “And while Observer was sending me, URN sending Charles Odongtho, NTV sending Michael Baleke, New vision sending Henry Mukasa, Olupot to be paid by NRM and Reuters was sending James Akena, monitor was sending Imaka to do journalism. The rest of us you must have read the PR we did for Museveni during the campaigns. So Justin Dralaze Ziras it’s one thing to hear in the grapevine its yet another to come here and accuse people without proof. I might even get the years wrong.”

In a twinkle off an eye, Odongtho wired a missile:

“Is this woman called Nnalongo Shifa Hazel Mwesigye of the Observer running mad or what? I am so sorry colleagues I have to get out my gloves. This is about my name, my name, my future. Nnalongo, produce any paper I signed, as a group or singly, during the campaigns, to take money, not just from NRM task force, but any other party.”

The missile was not enough. Odongtho had to send a nuke: “I am so screwed up in this. Stupid! I never travelled with Museveni’s campaign team. URN does not send people to travel with candidates, as a policy! Never! How did my name come amongst people who travelled with candidate Museveni?”

Shifa proved she was not a lady whose strength could easily be swept under the carpet:

“This idiot Charles Odongtho must be a totally retard otherwise how would he accuse me of the very same thing I was defending him and other people who covered NRM. Was it because I used sarcasm that u didn’t pick on? Look up the word. And we all know how well you covered d campaigns. We just never saw you there in the field. Oh yeah Natasha and Patience missed daddy. We read the story. You owe ACME a refund for claiming to have done something you didn’t. Do. RETARD.”

Several scribes appealed to Shifa to substantiate her claims. Others accused Odongtho of being excessively defensive which fuelled fears of attempts to shield a guilty conscience. Radical scribes encouraged the debate while moderates said the pair was stooping too low by washing their dirty linen in public.

Giles Muhame, the editor of the famous news-breaking website humbly asked the two scribes to ‘step aside.’

The moderator of the popular forum Grace Natabaalo had to intervene to encourage a cease fire: “The conversation going on between Charles and Shifa is utterly despicable. This is not the kind of debate anyone in their right mind would want to see on this forum. Both of you stop it or just leave the group. No one should be making blanket accusations if they do not have evidence to prove their theories. If this continues, I will delete you from the group.”

Her please fell on deaf ears.

Below are some of the nuclear-hot exchanges.

Charles Odongtho: This, if the said Nnalongo Shifa Hazel Mwesigye does not withdraw and apologise for, is probably going to be the first case of FB (Facebook) ending up in court. I swear. To use my name falsely is to expect primitivism out of me. And I think I have abundance of it left in me. What rubbish is this?

Mark Wanok: This debate is going in a wrong direction OMG? Someone stop these attacks?? Is someone hearing me loud? This is totally not cool for scribes to start this? I think the meaning of this page is beginning to loose meaning if personal attacks are starting like this?

Nnalongo Shifa Hazel Mwesigye: hahahahahaha, go ahead and sue me. Apologise to you? Are you kidding me? A monkey would have to first come out of my butt.

Kenneth Lukwago Anderson: Banange comrades cease fire.

Nnalongo Shifa Hazel Mwesigye: If fact because you are so retarded, you owe me an apology. And next time read and understand before u open your mouth

Kalundu Timothy W: I call upon both of you to calm down and sort out this mess in an organised manner please.

Binyamin Rukwengye People, we don’t really need this…let it go or be more civil about it!

Charles Odongtho: Now Shifa, tell me and all colleagues on this forum, indeed every one reading this forum, did I travel with you people even for a day on that Museveni team? Did I? Jesus Christ! I was attached to Museveni’s camp but the way we work is that we are not allowed to travel with him. I never took a cent from that election. This is so bad Shifa. Are you really a journalist worth your by line Shifa?

Rumanzi Perez Decualer: I think this is healthy, but may be the argument is brought up in anger, let’s cool down and talk. Charles Odongtho apart from professionalism and in house policy, would Nnalongo Shifa Hazel Mwesigye: be completely out of context to say you may have been part of the recipients?

Duksey Flora: Am sure there are more diplomatic ways of handling this matter

Charles Odongtho: heheheheh……Rumanzi Perez Decualer, not just out of context, I DID NOT travel with them on the NRM taxis. I am going to state the facts of what I know but I will not engage in hulling insults.

Muhame Giles: But Charles Odongtho, i am becoming suspicious. Why all this defensive? Is it a guilty conscience? Has Nnalongo Shifa Hazel Mwesigye pressed the panic button? If you read carefully what she wrote, she never said you accepted money from NRM. In fact she is being sarcastic. Just read between the lines. Sounding war drums won’t help.

Nnalongo Shifa Hazel Mwesigye: Charles the most honorable thing you can do is go back n read my comment internalise it, understand it then come back and apologise to this forum. I don’t need your apology, I am just waiting for this over fed baby to take me to court. Otherwise you are only repeating what I said in a lay man’s language.

Kenneth Lukwago Anderson: In parliament I hear some journalist moved to the speakers chambers and named some journalists claiming that they have been recruited by Amama Mbabazi to use the media to fight Kadaga. Now this kind of allegations needs to be substantiated and I hope with time we must also name this person.


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