Information and National Guidance Minister Rose Namayanja has said some district officials are not popularising government programmes, thereby keeping the public in the dark about government initiatives and interventions.
Addressing district officials in Mbarara last Friday during the quarterly meeting of chief administrative officers and town clerks, Ms Namayanja said government lobbied media managers to allocate them free airtime so as to inform the public about what has been done but district officials have not utilised the offer.
“We met media managers and agreed on it as a licensing requirement to allocate free airtime to communicate to the public what government has done, they agreed but district officials have been reluctant to use this opportunity,” she said.
Ms Namayanja said some managers have reported that district officials turn down invitations. The minister said the reluctance has to stop. She said it is one way of sabotaging government programmes, which is a breach of their mandate as district leaders and civil servants.
Ms Namayanja told all districts to have communication units to act as a centre for information sharing between local leaders and civil servants and that the information be regularly communicated to the public. She also directed districts to have timely updated websites.
Some district officials, however, said they don’t find any problem with passing on information to the public if they had funding. Others said there is not much to tell the public.
Mr Didas Tabaro, Mbarara District secretary for social services, said some media managers have not lived up to the agreement of allocating free airtime to district officials as the minister said.
However, minister Namayanja warned the media managers that allocating free airtime for communicating government programmes is a licensing requirement and those media owners and managers who refuse to cooperate will face serious repercussions.
She said they agreed with media managers to each week allocate one hour to communicate government programmes in case of radios and 30 minutes for television stations.