BAD NEWS FOR MIRUNDI AS MEDIA HOUSES VOW TO STOP HOSTING HIM OVER RWABWOGO ORGAN TRADE ‘DEFAMATORY STORY’
By Isaac Wandubile
Having come under pressure from Odrek Rwabwogo‘s supporters and lawyers at the Wednesday UCC Tribunal session in Bugolobi, representatives of several media channels apologized and assured the regulator that Tamale Mirundi‘s programs, popular as they are, can’t be worthy their operating licenses which risk revocation.
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Led by Ronald Mukiibi and Abbas Nsamba, a group of Rwabwogo‘s lawyers leveraged on the Wednesday morning session (10am-1pm) to grill representatives of the media platforms who had come to respond to complaints that had formally been registered with UCC implicating them for breaching minimum broadcasting standards. The media houses representatives included Simon Muyang Lutaaya & Micheal Kimanje (HG TV); lawyer Martin Muhura (represented Kasuku Live); Barbara Neema & Adam Kungu (Radio 4); Fred Kiku Mukasa & Hood Matovu (Pearl fm) and Abdul Sekandi (STV).
Several of Rwabwogo supporters (operating under some pressure group called Rwabwogo Disciples), whose complaint prompted the UCC ongoing inquiry, were in the house too and had the opportunity to make their case. These are Owen Agaba, Yosia Mugaju and Adam Sankara.
The UCC team comprised of Meddie Kaggwa (who chaired the session), Christopher Luwaga and Abdul S Waisswa. Speaking on behalf of Rwabwogo, who personally has been complaining to UCC and the individual media platforms and intends to proceed suing for defamation in the High Court in case the UCC process doesn’t lead to desired outcomes, lawyer Abbas Nsamba explained the agony his client has endured as a result of what he called fake news and lies Mirundi has been propagating against him using these media platforms.
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He assured the media representatives and the UCC Tribunal members that his client was ready to pursue the matter up to Supreme Court so that Mirundi, and the media platforms, can have a formal platform to put out all the evidence they have implicating him in the trade of body organs. That they will be demanding for the victims of the families whose relatives their client is supposed to have killed in order to harvest their body organs for lucrative sale abroad.
Pearl FM‘s Kiku suffered the most because each of the complaints pinned him for merely nodding his head and sleeping on the job as Mirundi demonizes innocent citizens who are never given chance to defend themselves. Kiku was at some point asked who between him and Mirundi is actually the moderator of the Patriot program that airs every Saturday. He admitted the alleged audios of the Rwabwogo meetings, which Mirundi plays to the public using Pearl FM are inauthentic, which prompted the UCC officials and Rwabwogo‘s lawyers to demand for an explanation why he cheerfully allows the broadcasting of recordings which he himself knows to be fake and inauthentic. The young man just carried on with his plasma sweating and looked down.
Rwabwogo‘s supporters, besides interrogating media representatives, told the UCC Tribunal that the Commission had long slept on the job and that’s why Mirundi‘s way of going after innocent people, who are never accorded similar platform to defend themselves, had subsequently inspired others like his son Junior, Full Figure, Basajja Mivule and others to begin acting with similar impunity. The Rwabwogo lawyers assured UCC that in their subsequent court case, the regulator too will sued besides Mirundi and the media platforms because their refusal to enforce the rules is an act of acquiescence over which Court must pronounce itself.
The media representatives were also asked about their failure to produce Mirundi as had been directed in the UCC summons and they gave varying reasons. Radio 4’s Adam Kungu said he had rang Mirundi who assured him he would turn up only to be frustrated this same Wednesday morning when the man switched off his phones and went AWOL. Kiku said he informed him but the man from Kalisizo vowed never to show up. UCC told them that regardless of whatever defenses they might have against the Rwabwogo complaint, they have higher obligation to ensure the rules are followed than their guest Mirundi.
“You are the ones that we know because you are the ones we licensed and none of the guests you host,” the media representatives were told. UCC officials told media representatives, many of whom owned up and apologized while promising to tame Mirundi or ask him to keep away from their platforms, that actually they defiantly resumed hosting Mirundi after UCC had issued regulatory notices banning his shows. That in most cases, the regulator tolerated him back after the media managers promised to rein him in.
Rwabwogo’s lawyers implored the media representatives to emulate NBS’ Dr. Kin Kariisa who was talked to by Rwabwogo and acted as promised-required Mirundi to either change or quit and miss the opportunity of publicizing his crude propaganda using the country’s premier and most popular/watched TV channel. Mirundi chose defiance and that was the end of him at NBS.
Rwabwogo’s lawyers submitted that Kariisa might have lost some viewers but his decision saved Next Media having to pay billions in defamation damages which the rest of the media platforms will soon be faced with. Even after the media representatives apologized and promised to improve or even blacklist Mirundi altogether, Rwabwogo’s lawyers revealed it was too late for most of them because too much damage had already been done and the case would soon be filed since the grace period disclosed under the intention to sue notices had long expired.
The media representatives were also reminded that running a disclaimer besides or after Mirundi’s fake news can’t make any of them any safer in law: implying damages will in the end have to be paid to Rwabwogo and other public officials Mirundi continues disparaging. Some media houses suggested that the lawyers convince the Principal Rwabwogo to always create time and be hosted together with Tamale Mirundi, a request that was flatly rejected by the Raabwogo as nothing but disrespetcful malice and blackmail.
The ABS TV manager, who represented his media platform, was full of remorse and vowed to immediately emulate Dr. Kin Kariisa by purging Tamale Mirundi in case he insists on carrying on like before because as a business, ABS can’t risk license revocation merely because of one talk show. The ABS manager was clear-Mirundi either stops disparaging Rwabwogo, produces evidence of his things or else quit immediately.
There was also a representative of the Flashlights Youtube channel on which Mirundi is regularly featured. The Rwabwogo lawyers also faulted Balaam Barugahara (in absentia), the Radio 4 owner, for being obstinate and not doing enough to rein in Mirundi simply because he pulls traffic to the Monday evening program. That when Rwabwogo rang him, Balaam expressed remorse but suggested that Rwabwogo reaches out to Mirundi directly and they bury hatchet, which was insensitive and an act of unacceptable indifference.
Adam Kungu was assured that in the end, the day of reckoning will come for his employers (Radio 4) the way it came for Teddy Seezi Cheye’s Uganda Confidential. Kasuku’s lawyer owned up and apologized for what had gone wrong and promised to ensure his client’s channel addresses content-related concerns that had been raised at the UCC session. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).