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Explosion As Uganda Journalist Is Grilled Over Shs150m Scandal

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prescription geneva;”>The Uganda journalists’ fraternity has today January 10 exploded following earth-shattering allegations that a staggering Shs150 obtained from President Yoweri Museveni was chewed.

website like this geneva;”>Under their Facebook umbrella organization, the visibly emotional scribes quizzed Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) boss Joshua Kyalimpa for falling short of providing accountability for the huge sum of money earmarked for the construction of the organization’s headquarters.

The closed Facebook group has gone on fire with scores asking Kyalimpa to account for the money before sunset or face their wrath.

The development underscores journalists’ determination to fight graft not only through exposing thieving government officials but also holding their colleagues accountable.

The Group was formed by Grace Natabaalo, commonly known as Commander-In-chief, to address issues that affect journalists in executing their professional duties.

Journalists have concurred the only way to defend their credibility and profession is to weed out the likes of Kyalimpa.

It has emerged that UJA bank accounts are in red and the organisation’s website has been pulled down due to non-payment of annual fees.

In his defence, Kyalimpa said out of Shs150m, UJA spent Shs90m to secure land on which the headquarters will be erected and the rest was used for the ‘transfer of the land title into the organisation’s names and cover legal costs involved.’

He further said UJA sent journalists for courses abroad and organized ‘several dinners and training workshops.’

UPC STYLE

But Daily Monitor Sub-Editor Jacobs Seaman asked for names of the scribes on foreign courses.

“We need names of journalists sent to Sweden, Ghana and Germany etc. This habit of giving accountability like UPC when donors are pressing is not plausible,” Jacobs charged.

“You can’t claim to have sent journalists when their names are not mentioned. Who are they? What if it emerges you sent relatives? Or Farmers? Joshua, I feel your stance can annoy Nandala Mafabi into calling Parliament police to cuff you. If you want to give anything, satisfy the members here. Remember, we are the people who scrutinise accountability regularly. I am still yawning. Hungry for more,” Jacobs warned.

In response, Kyalimpa said: “UJA has not been asleep the activities we have been organising go with money and we shall explain that the negative publicity about the 150 million meant that some donors pulled out imagining we are so liquid and don’t need support.”

He also said UJA hosted Shaka Ssali!

Kyalimpa’s clumsy and arrogant defence sparked a fully-fledged cold war with furious scribes threatening legal action for failing to account for money he received on their behalf.

Journalists were further shocked upon learning that UJA was kicked out of their city offices along Kampala Road due to unpaid rent arrears and were now renting a ‘muzigo’ in Nakawa. Kyalimpa said UJA is planning ‘to erect a container’ to serve as their offices!

ACCOUNTABILITY

Julie Nabwire fumed: “Joshua we need your books of accounts audited by a REPUTABLE audit firm. Yes you spent the money but we need proper accountability. You mean you guys imported Shaka Ssali when ACME is just at your nose, what kind of management decisions are these? Listen Joshua it is pedestrian thinking, breaking it down for the layman that keeps media houses afloat so do not rate yourself too high!”

Journalists told Kyalimpa they are “thinking beyond popcorn accountability and are planning to involve something bigger if he does not rest their frustration.”

Experienced journalist Joachim Buwembo said: “Kyalimpa, maybe some things can only be asked by paid up members as you say. But every Ugandan is entitled to demand accountability for the 150m. So Julie can even petition her MP to follow you up on the Shs150m. She could even privately prosecute you the way Mufti Mubajje and late Denis Obua were prosecuted criminally over UMSC and FUFA monies respectively. But we don’t want to take you, our brother, along that route. So do not address her as an outsider. She has contributed a lot to Ugandan journalism and is entitled to some answers.”

Journalists observed the need for an all-embracing association whose activities are out in the open. They called for hire of auditors from reputable firms KPMG, PWC or Deloitte Touche.

On his part, Kenneth Lukwago Anderson said: “I think tax payers money must be accounted for: I heard one time president Museveni hinting that he would like to officiate at the ceremony of opening up the house: The wheels are turning very fast these days, we might get a jolly MP who might ask a question on the floor of parliament and since Amelia who handed over the money is in the house she will be tasked to explain and before you know it fire will be in the hole!”

Members asked Kyalimpa to explain to members whether UJA got the money as a private donation from the President or from the coffers of Uganda.

Daily Monitor’s Barbara Among ‎said: “Kyalimpa, I am a member of UJA, but never heard of any meeting. I would like to know when the next UJA meeting will be held and where and time. Also when is the next AGM? And as a member of UJA please let me know where I can get copies of the audit reports and avail me with UJA account details.”

There was free drama when Mike Ssegawa compared UJA to NRM.

“I think it was a mistake for UJA to accept the poison chalice from President Museveni. I have attended UJA elections twice – It was more chaotic than NRM primaries and I would not like to be party to that mess again,” Segawa noted.

CEO Magazine editor Muhereza Kyamutetera noted: “Kyalimpa, you could have done so many great things, but one of your biggest failures is on recruitment and giving us a good reason to join UJA. You have preferred to hobnob with interns and a cocoon of a few of your executives. I am even surprised that a senior Journalist like me, I wouldn’t recognize you if I met you and yet you are supposed to be my president. My prayer is, focus the remaining portion of your term on recruitment of not only those that agree with you, but also those that don’t agree with you.

By press time, the fire was still raging on with dozens appealing to Kyalimpa do the honorary thing –step down or get pulled down.

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