East African Legislative Assembly members have condemned the media siege by the Ugandan government.
This transpired during the first debate of the 6th meeting held by the assembly at the Ugandan Parliamentary chambers while reacting to President Yoweri Museveni’s State of EAC address that he made in Kigali, Rwanda.
Peter Mathuki, a member of EALA from Kenya, said that partner states must respect peace and promote democracy and it should be visible; in this regard he noted the closure of The Daily Monitor which he said is against democracy in the East African Community.
He wondered why EAC institution of police that is supposed to be operationalising and embracing democracy is killing it themselves.
Mathuki asked the EALA Speaker to address the police through the council of ministers and demand for a statement why the media is gagged and closed before the sittings end on 6th June 2013.
Ogle Abubakar Abdi, a member from Kenya, said that the closure of The Monitor is not fair and a retrogression to democracy that is symbolized by President Museveni.
He appealed to the government to reconsider and open The Monitor, its two sister stations and the Red pepper and by doing that it would have enhanced democracy in the region.
EALA MP Mumba Al Ngaru from Kenya urged president Museveni as the chair of the East African Summit to believe in guided democracy and look back on the actions towards the freedom of the media and address democracy from inside and outside.
Opoka Okumu Chris, a member of EALA from Uganda, said that one of the ways that East Africa can lift its self out of poverty is through irrespective to democracy.
Okumu urged East African Countries to obey court orders irrespective of whether they are in favor of the government or not.
The state minister of the EAC affairs Shem Bageine said that the issue of media closure on the side of government is a hike up and that he is confident that it will disappear.
He urged those putting blame on government to put into mind that also the media plays part in the democracy of the country and it should carry out its role diligently and accurately.
Meanwhile this condemnation by EALA members comes after the police briefly arrested HRNJ-Uganda national coordinator Wokulira Ssebagala, Board Chairman Mulindwa Mukasa and others as journalists led by HRNJ camped for solidarity at Monitor premises in Namuwongo to demand for the opening of Daily Monitor, KFM, Dembe Fm and Red Pepper.