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State House: CBS radio must apologise

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APPOLOGISE: Mr. Tamale Mirundi speaking to journalists on Monday. PHOTO BY ISAAC KASAMANI  

By Mercy Nalugo & Emmanuel Mulondo

Posted  Tuesday, March 30  2010 at  00:00
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Kampala
Central Broadcasting Services (CBS) radio will remain closed until the station apologises to the government, President Museveni’s press secretary has said.

Mr Tamale Mirundi told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre on Monday that the station’s managers were reluctant to apologise because of possible legal repercussions from victims of the September 2009 riots.

The radio was shut down following riots in Kampala and neighbouring districts caused by the government’s blockade of Kabaka Mutebi’s tour of Kayunga District.
The government said the Kabaka’s visit was a security threat considering that the minority Banyala tribe in Kayunga was opposed to the tour. A total of 27 people died in the resultant melee.

Mr Mirundi said contrary to accusations by “negative elements”, the closure of the station was a Cabinet decision and not that of the President as an individual.

He said ministers were failing to defend government positions, leaving the President to be “punched” by the public and the opposition. He referred to the CBS radio closure and the aftermath of the Kasubi tombs fire.
Mr Mirundi’s address was meant to “clarify on a few issues that did not come out well” after President Museveni addressed a March 21 press conference at State House Entebbe.

Ministers on spot
“Why don’t these ministers come out to defend government policies and positions? Instead you see them trekking to Mengo to take money. Why don’t you ask them ‘What is your position on the closure of CBS?” he asked.

Mr Mirundi said many of the ministers from Buganda region were telling their constituents that the matter of the closure of CBS radio was being “handled by the President” yet it had a cabinet resolution behind it.

Collective responsibility
“Why don’t they tell the people that this is what we decided in cabinet? And I know at times it is not the President who chairs the cabinet. At times it is the Vice President who chairs cabinet,” Mr Mirundi said.
Mr Mirundi said the failure by the ministers to do their job was arming the opposition with propaganda to malign the President and the NRM government.