Uganda: FDC Party Buys Two Radio Stations because denied licences


The Forum for Democratic Change has announced that it has bought two existing radio stations following a government decision to deny the party a licence to set up its own. The decision to buy the radio stations was taken by FDC National Executive Committee, the highest decision-making organ of the party.

The announcement was made by FDC president, Dr Kizza Besigye last week while meeting party delegates from Mityana District, who demanded to know which action the party would take against Tropical FM for denying their leader a platform.

Dr Besigye had paid Shs200,000 for a one hour programme from 7.00am to 8.00pm but the station management abruptly cancelled the programme, citing an order from Mubende District Resident District Commissioner Nsubuga Bewayo. The delegates also asked Dr Besigye to explain why it was taking long for the Shs190 million party radio station donated by Americans to go on air.

In response, Dr Besigye said: "We asked for a licence but the government has been delaying the process. When we pressured them [government] they told us that they had stopped issuing licences because the airwaves were full."

He added: "But we had plan B in case the official channels failed. As we were pressuring the government to give us a licence, we were also planning other tactics of acquiring a radio, and I am happy plan B worked. "I can now tell you that we have acquired two radio stations. One is on air now and another will be on air within a month."

Dr Besigye said he cannot reveal the identities of the radio stations because he does not want them to suffer what he called the "CBS fate" The government took CBS, a largely Buganda kingdom-owned radio, off the airwaves on September 10 last year, accusing it of inciting riots in and around Kampala during which at least some 27 people died.

The Uganda Broadcasting Council Chairman, Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, told Daily Monitor yesterday that FDC will not be allowed to own radio stations, adding that if the council identifies the two radio stations, they will be switched-off.

"We do not licence radio stations owned by parties," Mr Mutabazi said, adding: "The Electronic Media Act does not say anything like that and we are not going to allow anything like that." He added: "You do not just sell a radio station like selling a cake," Mr Mutabazi said. "The rules are clear, the council must know the seller and the new owner of a station before it is sold."

The Monitor