Yesterday on the 21.07.2015 the NRM regime cut off the radio transmitter for the “Baba Radio” or as it’s really named 87.7 Basogo Baino FM in Jinja after Dr. Kizza Besigye had a great rally earlier in the day in Iganga and Jinja. Therefore it made me go through the report on ‘Press Freedom in 2014 – Harsh Laws and Violence Drive Global Decline’ that is coming from the NGO Freedom house. Today on 22.07.2015 Mr. Innocent Anyole is sacked from his job after trying to interview Dr. Kizza Besigye this sacking happen by Radio Director Hon. Moses Grace Balyeku, the NRM Chairman of Jinja and MP for Jinja West Constituency. He sure followed party line and broke the wing of the man who introduced FDC man Dr. Kizza Besigye. Well, let me introduce the Press Freedom in East Africa according to the global rankings of the Freedom House and their report on how it was in 2014.
This report has three important levels of how the media is and which place in society it has:
- Partly Free
- Not Free
The difference between them comes to how great power the countries government controls the media or let them be. How the laws and treatment of journalist and media institutions is and how the events surrounding them have been in the recent year.
I will focus on the East African Countries and those in the “area” around how the quote and place this countries in the report. Because I write about the South Sudan, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. These are the countries that will be taken. Not the whole world but the basic places that I usually cover in my blog somehow. So it shouldn’t be surprise to anyone.
Before addressing the numbers and rankings of the nations, let me take the quotes on some of the nations from the report as well:
“Ethiopian authorities stepped up arrests of independent journalists, including the Zone 9 bloggers, leading more than 30 to flee the country during the year, according to CPJ” (…) “In Kenya contained several vaguely worded clauses curtailing press freedom, including the threat of three years in prison for journalists who fail to obtain police permission before reporting on terrorism investigations or operations, or for coverage “likely to cause public alarm, incitement to violence, or disturb public peace” (…) “Somalia’s score improved from 82 to 79 due to the increased ability of private actors to open media outlets and the greater distribution of media, especially radio, throughout the south-central part of the country” (…) “South Sudan’s score declined from 62 to 68 due to the government’s near-complete disregard for constitutional and legal protections for freedom of the press in 2014, as well as the lack of such protections in rebel-held areas; a marked increase in restrictions imposed on journalists by the security forces; and heightened censorship, self-censorship, and retaliatory attacks on journalists”.
From here I will address the rankings of the East African nations coming when it comes to press freedom and the numbers that they have gotten from the expert committees that gone through reports and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX). The stories this numbers are telling and the situation that the media has on the ground is staggering. Therefore it’s a story that has to be told. Now will explain the criteria of the global ranking that is made of scoring process, the value of the levels and what they mean for each country and last the main groups of questions that the researchers and analyst in cooperation with IFEX. That has crunched the numbers with the questions and reports from sources from the whole world.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers”
“The research and scoring process involves more than 90 analysts—including outside consultants and members of the core research team headquartered in New York—who prepare the draft ratings and country reports” (…) “the other members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) network for providing detailed and timely analyses of press freedom violations in a variety of countries worldwide, on which we rely to make our judgments”.
Scale Point for the levels:
“A country’s final score (from 0 to 100) represents the total of the scores allotted for each question. A total score of 0 to 30 results in a press freedom status of Free; 31 to 60 a status of Partly Free; and 61 to 100 a status of Not Free”.
Questions that makes the score:
The scores are put into three categories: Legal Environment (0-30points), Political Environment (0-40points) and Economical Environment (0-30points).
Placing of the East African nations:
|172||Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)||79||Not Free|
|152||South Sudan||68||Not Free|
*Somaliland got ranked 115 – Score of 54 and was set to be ‘Partly Free’
What this means:
This tells something about the environment that the press in the East African nations goes through. Of the eight nations three is ‘Partly Free’: Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. This means that certain levels of freedom is on the media, but has certain levels of strings on the press. It’s worse in the rest of the nations because they are on the level of ‘Not Free’: Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Somalia and South Sudan. And they did make Somalialand as a separate territory as a ‘Party Free’ whiles the country as a whole is set as ‘Not Free’. Therefore in that setting certain areas of Somalia federation has more freedom then the rest.
What that is shocking for me is how low scores countries of Uganda has compared to Ethiopia. Ethiopia has been strict on media and journalist. Especially to those who are abiding opposition in the country. Uganda has many outlets, still the big ones has over time been disorganized by the regime like the Daily Monitor. That has not happen with similar media in Kenya. Though the laws for media there is isn’t similar reports on shut downs of radio station and papers when the regime disagrees. Rwanda I am sure that the government is strict on the media, because the news from there is usually in the mood of the regime. Burundi if it wasn’t for protests and deflectors, there would be less news and information on the regime of Pierre Nkuruziza. DRC and Kabila haven’t put this into motions after all the issues that have been in the last decades. The regime has control and want to be sure of the information that is put out. Therefore when you hear something negative it’s from the UN bodies or MONUSCO but not the press of the DRC or journalists. Tanzania has its freedom but also strangles on the media. The party has been running the country since independence so the feelings is that their intertwined and feel like they are together, instead of actually being critical of the politicians and society. But it should be worried that the different countries and how big the difference between the top and bottom of the scale in the East African. From Tanzania who got 54 points and the worst was Ethiopia got 83 points – the close competition was Rwanda, Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo got all 79 points on the scale. 60 Points scale is the max for the ‘Partly Fee’ media nations. So that the environment is on a far level from partly and even longer way to being free. The thing that is worrying is that it’s less than 5 points from ‘Partly Free’ to ‘Not Free’ with Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. It’s just small tweaks and harassment of the media and in 2016 report will degrade this nations and how the media has a place in these countries. Though it doesn’t look to good, but hopefully I and others can be surprised. Until then let hope that the media get into a place where they can actually monitor their areas and speak their minds without fear or legal repercussions. Peace.
Dunham, Jennifer, Nelson, Bret & Ahekyan, Elen – ‘Press Freedom in 2014 – Harsh Laws and Violence Drive Global Decline’ – April 2015 – Freedom House
This day we have a special announcement that Yoweri Kaguta Musveni isn’t the only presidential candidate in the NRM or National Resistance Movement Party (Walubiri, 2015). We all know that the other parties have gone together in a Democratic Alliance that happened on the 10.06.2015. This here will not be on that, but will be hard to separate from the latest revelation.
Now a new path will JPAM or Amama Mbabazi walk on the way to preliminary election to be the main candidate in the NRM. Though we all in our hearts now the end-game as long as Yoweri Museveni walks himself on mother earth. This will not be a real election. There will be certain speeches and balloting, but the end result will be in his favor, but in the party and nationally in the General Election of 2016.
We all who has followed them know that their former weapon brothers who have kept each other close. No one would deny that. If you have followed Amama Mbabazi you know he has scruples. This will be played in this power struggle. Not only use of UPF to get rid of campaign people for the Ex-VP. We all know that. There will be because of the Public Order Management Act (POMB) and 3 day rule. Some of us know that the powers want allow them to gather. Because that makes NRM into two vicious fractions: the ones supporting Museveni and the other supporting Mbabazi. Mbabazi has had strong support in the NRM Youth leaders who has endorsed him (Katusabe, 2015). Even today on the Uganda Youth Platform they endorsed him too. Their statement on facebook was: “We as members of uganda youth platform want to fustinctively thank Hon. Amama mbabazi upon his declaratin! This is good for the struggle to dislodge the dictatorship. Bravo”. So we sure know that Amama Mbabazi has a base. It’s surfacing.
But we all know the tricks of the grand master. He will not release and loose this at any price. I am sure he will pull out all of his election mechanisms and trades. That he has stocked up. Finally he will address all the scandals of Mbabazi. The reasons why hasn’t done that yet or done anything else then clipping his wings. It is because Museveni knows that if this all goes public, he can also shame him and put dirt on him as well.
After he sent him into a special exile we have all wonder what his step would be. Would he join forces with the opposition like FDC, UPC or DP? Be friendly to Gilbert Bukenya, Mugisha Muntu, Dr. Kizza Besigye or Olara Otunnu? No, he haven’t made any significant relationship with these people? No! He is going solo in the great party of Museveni.
The former weapon brothers are sudden “enemies” and wishing the big-chair at the Parliament. But there can only be one winner. No matter what kind of alliance the opposition parties and candidates they have against the NRM candidate. They will struggle and have hardships. The EC is often rigged. Dr. Kizza Besigye knows this. All of Uganda knows this. Even if FDC has won some by-elections in the past like recent the one in Amuru by-election 20th November when Lucy Akello won the seat there. But this is small fry compared to the real deal of going against the almighty chief. The boss that has been seated in-charge since 1986. The man who took power with the gun and after promised twice to step down. First was that he was supposed to retire after the 2001. Then he changed added an amendment to the constitution on 2005. So he could be elected again in 2006. And so is the saga until this day of today. We are now running towards the General election 2016 which happens to be 15 years after his first promise of retirement. And now Mbabazi will be into the fire and get with a goat in the desert.
He might have the endorsement from certain type of voters. Even inside of the party. But he will have to fight the man who “built” him and “let him be”. Now Museveni will do everything to discredit him. Take all kind of ammunition of corruption, nepotism and other misgivings that has happen since the NRM took power.
Now will Museveni does what he can, even if Mbabazi could drop knowledge on him, because Mbabazi got a stamp okay to do it or even so, Museveni just let him do it in the past. Now that it will surface and the stink will be smelling for days. Mbabazi might even feel a bit alone at times. Because now Museveni will ask for loyalty, which means that those who are behind him will get paid, those that don’t will be shut out or shunned by the party. Just like the NRM Youth leaders who endorsed him. They lost their spot and positions. While those who stand by Museveni will prosper. That’s his system. In reality the Movement System has become a place of finding those who are loyal in the rural areas and does who will follow conformed message of the leadership without asking. They will over time get a piece for their contribution. Even if their lucky get their district shut in two so they can get more leadership funding and balance, last and least securing loyalty to the chief in the parliament in Kampala.
Therefore when you have a system built for loyalty to one man. Then a former fellow comrade, weapon-brother or friend goes against you. It will be a long road. Mbabazi will walk alone on this one. He will be burned in the desert. The sun will not leave much shade. Every piece of bad blood of his past will now crack open. I as many others know that he is a corrupt man. Museveni is a corrupt man. But you, I and the world should know that by now. And if you’re surprised by that fact then do a little research. You’ll find enough articles and examples on how corrupt this two are.
They will know fight though not in front of the public. This will be in the background and in the shadows. The dirt and dust will land in public. New Vision will come with all ammunition on the dirt of Mbabazi. They have already started today. The journey through the desert is just starting for Amama Mbabazi or JPAM. Museveni will trigger all kind of works from the NRM that we haven’t seen in ages. To take a little quote from point blank: “this will be bloody!”
Good luck on your journey through the desert. Hope it will not be like Moses and last for 30 years. Mbabazi doesn’t have that time. Might his daughter have that, but not him. Museveni will not give this up easy. This will be special and how it will play out is now coming. If Mbabazi is going to get the Erias Lukwago and Dr. Kizza Besigye treatment is not sure of. But I wouldn’t be surprised: if he will get house-arrest in the future and can’t drive out his block to a campaign in Wandegye in Kampala. Or have to postpone meetings with delegates who support him because he will break with law of POMB. Certain things will happen in due time while he is in the desert. Peace.
Video of statement from Amama Mbabazi:
Katusabe, Ruth & Bashime, Felix – ‘Three NRM youth leaders fired over links with Mbabazi’ (30.04.2015) Link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/NRM-youth-leaders-fired-links-Mbabazi/-/688334/2702094/-/6vcl1y/-/index.html
Walubiri, Moses – ‘Amama Mbabazi to run for president’ (15.06.2015) Link: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/669767-amama-mbabazi-to-run-for-president.html