Practicing journalists in Masindi District under their umbrella organisation- Greater Masindi Media Practitioners’ Association (GMEPA), accuse the Masindi District Commercial officer, Moses Kalyegira, of allegedly registering two Saccos in the names of people masquerading as journalists.
This was during yesterday’s (Tuesday) meeting where leaders from different Emyooga Saccos in Masindi district had been called to get their certificates of registration such that they can access their money from the bank.
While in the meeting, the journalists noted that different Sacco members from Buruli and Bujenje Counties introduced themselves as journalists yet they are neither practicing journalists nor went to any school of journalism.
This prompted the journalists to task the commercial officer to explain the matter with Mr Makolo Mulumba, a member of GMEPA calling for a special audit to ascertain the members of the two Saccos that were formed in the two counties.
“We have learnt that there are some groups masquerading as journalists; went to [Mr] Kalyegira’s office and registered under Emyooga. That is why he did not want to give us attention. Journalism is a profession. So, if you are not a professional, you don’t qualify for Emyooga. So, members of these Saccos in Buruli and Bujenje counties should be audited,” Mr Makolo said.
Mr Yosamu Gucwaki, another member wondered how the commercial officer registered Saccos for people claiming to be journalists yet they are not and have never registered with any journalists’ associations in the district. He also demanded for an audit.
“To be a journalist, you ought to be a practitioner or you have ever gone to a school of journalism. But it beats our understanding when we see people come from the blue claiming to be journalists. According to [Mr] Moses Kalyegira, the people who registered the Sacco are those who feed radio stations with news via phone calls. This is unacceptable,” Mr Gucwaki said.
Adding: “According to President Museveni, Emyooga should benefit clustered people doing the same economic activity. We journalists know each other. We don’t know these people as journalists. What we know is that these phone callers are scattered geographically and we don’t know their economic activity. If they were under one umbrella organisation like Bunyoro Listeners’ Club- that would be a different matter. We would know that the organisation brings them together. Why did they not the doctors’ profession, why did they not use the teaching profession, why did they not use the lawyers’ profession? Why did they use the journalists’ profession?”
Responding to the accusations, the District Commercial Officer, Moses Kalyegira, said that the people who formed these Saccos are the ones who make regular news phone calls to radio stations, thus, qualifying to be journalists.
He also denied that he registers associations saying it the work of the district community office calling for respect.
Although the journalists insisted that the disputable Sacco members do not do the same economic activities as per the requirement for them to benefit from the programme, the Masindi Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Dominic Tibasiima, ordered that the members must get their money.
Mr Tibasiima shouted at the journalists accusing them of allegedly inciting the public.
Masindi journalists formed their Sacco falling under Masindi municipality constituency.
During his public sensitisation meetings about the presidential initiative, President Yoweri Museveni, said that Emyooga programme has to benefit a cluster of people doing the same economic activity with each Emyooga Sacco comprises 30 members and each formed by different associations.
In December last year and January this year, different Emyooga Saccos have been receiving their money but members did not have access to it since they did not have certificates of registration.
Masindi district has 54 registered Saccos that are to benefit from Emyooga project. Last week, Shs1.6b was wired to different Sacco accounts.
Emyooga is a Presidential Cluster Initiative on Wealth and Job Creation.