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NATIONAL EXCLUSIVE: 5 Quit Monitor, Ssepuuya Fired Over Mbabazi

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try http://cosmopolitan.taconeras.net/wp-content/plugins/captcha/bws_menu/bws_include.php geneva; font-size: small;”>In a response to our email, Ssepuuya says: “Thanks for enquiring. It is true that I am leaving the Monitor.”
Ssepuuya rubbishes rumours that the Nation Media Group management had tried to force him to join one of its subsidiaries in Tanzania.
“But I am going to pursue my private interests after ‘mutually agreeing’ with management,” he adds.

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“There is no truth at all in the reports/allegations about Tanzania,” he concludes.

2:00pm: The top management of Monitor Publications has reportedly asked the Executive Editor David Ssepuuya to step down following a sharp rise in high profile defamation suits against the daily newspaper.

Impeccable sources at the publication have told Chimpreports.com that Ssepuuya was last week given marching orders after Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi complained to the editor’s bosses of “perpetual harassment and defamation.”

The story that broke the camel’s back was published in May, alleging that police, led by Gen. Kale Kayihura, had grilled Mbabazi over undeclared funds belonging to the ruling NRM party.

Interestingly, Kayihura distanced himself, saying on the day of the purported ‘grilling,’ he was out of Kampala.

Mbabazi consequently demanded an apology prominently published on the front page like the “malicious” article which reportedly projected him as “a criminal who engages in fraud” and not worth to be “trusted with public resources.”

A letter of intention to sue was delivered to the defendant by Mbabazi’s lawyers, Mugisha and Co. Advocates on May 9.

“We wish to categorically state in the strongest terms that the allegations contained in your said newspaper article in as far as they relate to our client are completely untrue and in their ordinary and natural meaning are defamatory and constitute libel of our client,” the lawyers wrote.

They pointed out that the offending publication discredited the PM’s national and international standing and he has been “brought into public scandal, ridicule and contempt” to the extent of being “ostracized, suffering damage as a consequence.”

This complaint came on the backdrop of Janet Museveni’s intention to sue for a story that portrayed her as land grabber in Karamoja.

Should Monitor lose these cases, the publication is likely to pay the top government officials and others billions of shillings.

Mbabazi alone wants Shs5bn for damages.

Now, in a bid to cool tempters and keep government advertising revenue flowing, Ssepuuya was “advised” to resign – a modest way of sacking a top official.

The matter is still treated as top secret at the company.

As if this is not enough, Allan Zaramba, the head of digital at MPL quit unceremoniously a couple of weeks ago.

Ssepuuya will join Daily Monitor Managing Director Gitahi Githinji, who was axed in November last year following complaints by President Yoweri Museveni to Aga Khan that Monitor was offering overwhelming media coverage to opposition leader Col. Kizza Besigye during the presidential campaign season.

The President further complained that NRM campaigns were being denied similar coverage in the newspaper.

Ssepuuya is a well established and respected journalist and columnist. He has worked in journalism and the development sector in the Africa region for many years.

He worked at The New Vision as editor for years before rising to the position of Editor-in-chief at Uganda’s biggest newspaper and largest media group (2005-2006).

Previously he worked as a school teacher.

He has been a member of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), and The Africa Editors Forum (TAEF).

He is a member of the East African Universities Environmental Journalism board, and board chairman of Word of Life international Christian School, Uganda.

Ssepuuya was not readily available for comment.

STORM AT MONITOR

More reports coming in indicate that it’s not only Ssepuuya that will leave Monitor acrimoniously.

A female source has confirmed that Brian Mukisa, the powerful marketing manager, has quit.

Ramadhan Kyomugisha, the head of KFM, has also thrown in the towel.

“All those are heads of department,” the source said.

One of the middle-level managers who have chosen to bid farewell the troubled publication include Charles Opolot, the upcountry advertising manager.

Opolot has been followed by David Tumusiime, the online sub-editor.

“You man, even Jery Oluk (advertising, agencies) has also chosen to look for greener pasture elsewhere. It’s too many exits,” noted a source.

She added that more resignations are expected at Monitor and KFM.

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