Journalists’ body set to elect new leaders

By Stephen Otage


Journalists countrywide will on Saturday converge at the Gaddaffi National Mosque in Old Kampala to elect new leaders of their umbrella body, the Uganda Journalists Union (UJU).
So far, two candidates have expressed interest to contest for the position of president. They are Daily Monitor photo journalist Abubaker Lubowa and Mr Bashir Kabuye, a presenter on Bukedde Radio.
There are 15 other positions to be filled.
Mr Isaac Daniel Katende, alias Kasuku, a presenter at Dembe FM, Mr Mathias Rukundo and Ms Mercy Lugemwa Namirembe are vying for the position of vice president.
Throughout this week, aspirants have been traversing newsrooms seeking support.
Outgoing president Robert Kagolo told Daily Monitor that the 54-year-old association has failed to attract well-trained, senior and professional journalists.
Mr Kagolo said the association was hijacked by semi-trained, unprofessional, indisciplined and amateurish members who have scared away seasoned journalists with a zeal to steer the association to a professional path.
“We have tried to recruit elite journalists but they do not want to associate with UJA because they have lost trust in the current breed of journalists who are members. Even when you look at the current aspirants, these are young journalists who know little about the industry,” he said, adding that no senior journalists have contested for senior positions.
Former prime minister Kintu Musoke, who is the association founder, said it was established to demystify the myth that journalism was a career for those that had failed in other professions.
“We lacked proper journalism training in the country, but we had a press club where journalists met regularly. We secured scholarships for members to study abroad and we mentored upcoming journalists,” he said.

Dr William Tayebwa, the head of Mass Communication department at Makerere University, said unless media owners pick interest in the association, he does not see a future in it.
“Even us as a training institution, we try as much to train multimedia journalists but we cannot train all the journalists in the country. Journalists have many challenges, which need to be addressed but it requires the will of the media owners,” he said.

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