Police summons Opondo after spat with Lukwago

L-R: Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo and Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago. Photos / File

What you need to know:

  • The Kampala Lord Mayor has accused the government spokesperson of  threatening him while on a talk show on a local television show.

Police has summoned government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo to record a statement following the altercation he had with Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago on a talkshow on a local television station on Thursday night.

A debate around the Soroti East by-election won by the National Resistance Movement’s (NRM) Herbert Ariko saw Mr Opondo and Mr Lukwago trade verbal volleys, with the former standing menacingly over the latter before the show took an impromptu commercial break.

Mr Luke Owoyesigyire, the deputy police spokesperson for Kampala Metropolitan, yesterday said detectives at Kiira Road Divisional Police headquarters received a complaint from Mr Lukwango. The Kampala Lord Mayor alleges that Mr Opondo not only threatened him, but also assaulted him.

“Police have opened up a general inquiry file for open investigation and it will enable us to record statements from the witnesses who could have been there watching the incident and also get a statement from that person who is being accused, who is Ofwono Opondo and from there, the file will be forwarded to the state attorney for legal advice,” Mr Owoyesigyire said.

Mr Lukwago told the police that while on the talkshow set, Mr Opondo “ran berserk and started throwing tantrums.”

The Kampala Lord Mayor further revealed: “Out of the blue, [Mr Opondo] sprung up, charged at me and threatened to evict me from the studios. He pushed his hand into the pocket and around his waist, in a manner that suggested he wanted to draw a pistol at me.”

He added: “I dared him to shoot at me. He instead pounced on my neck and attempted to strangle me. I did not fight back, but instead struggled to wriggle out of his grip. He then punched me in the chest and grabbed both collars of my jacket while huffing and puffing like a cobra.”

When contacted, Mr Charles Mwangushya Mpagi, the talkshow’s moderator, referred Sunday Monitor to a statement the television station’s put out. Mr Mpagi also extended his sincere apologies to the viewers of the show.

In the statement by the television station, the incident described as “unfortunate” was condemned. The television station said the incident “violates our editorial policy and minimum broadcasting standards.” It added that it will further investigate the matter in a bid to secure “an amicable resolution.”

The ICT and National Guidance minister, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, was on the talkshow set when the incident played out. He described Mr Opondo’s actions as “unacceptable.”

Dr Baryomunsi further said: “The rules of engagement are very clear: You must not be talking, standing when another person is talking as well.” 

He added that the government will come up with more guidelines for panelists on talkshows on both televisions and radios to prevent such incidents from taking place.

The minister said the Lord Mayor, Mr Opondo and NBS television will be called for a reconciliation meeting.

what ucc act says

The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) may suspend or revoke a licence issued under Section 41 of the UCC Act, on the following grounds, serious and repeated breach of the licence conditions, any fraud or intentional misrepresentation by the operator applying for the licence, where the operator is engaged in or is supporting activities amounting to a treasonable offence under the Penal Code Act, and where the operator has ceased to be an eligible person.

Section 41 (3) of the UCC Act empowers the Commission to give any operator written notice of not less than 60 days in case of an impending suspension or revocation of a broadcasting license.


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