Uganda Communications Commission-UCC has suspended the broadcast license of Radio Hoima and ordered the station to cease operations effectively immediately. In a May 25, 2017 letter, a copy of which SpearNews has seen, Godfrey Mutabazi, the Executive Director Uganda Communications Commission, says the station is being investigated for airing sectarian content.

UCC letter to Hoima radio management

He explains that UCC has received numerous complaints indicating that Radio Hoima has been hosting members of Bunyoro Kitara Reparation Agency-BUKITAREPA who utter statements that are sectarian. “The Commission has reviewed the content of the aforementioned programs, and has confirmed that the statements and utterances made during the programs are sectarian, and promote violence and ethnical prejudice among the public. These statements or utterances are in breach of Minimum Broadcasting Standards as provided for in Section 31 and schedule 4 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013,” reads the letter in part.

Adding that “In light of this serious breach and in accordance with Section 41 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013, the Commission hereby suspends your broadcasting license as further investigations into this matter are being carried out.” He also directs the station to submit all recordings of programs in, which BUKITAREPA members have been hosted in the last 60 days so that they are reviewed in accord with section 29 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013.

“Please be advised that should the Commission not receive any representations from Radio Hoima within a period of 60 days from receipt of this letter, the Commission shall proceed to commence revocation of the Radio broadcasting license of Radio Hoima in accordance with section of 41 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013,” he warns.

Canon Akiiki Kyanku, the Managing Director Radio Hoima told SpearNews this morning that they are yet to receive the letter from UCC directing them to cease their operations. Kyaku promised to respond and act on the contents of the letter once he receives it from UCC. He however, denies airing sectarian content that promotes violence and prejudice as claimed by the commission.

Tensions heightened in Hoima district about two weeks ago after an audio clip believed to have been produced by the Bakiga community in the area threatening to wage an ethic war. In the audio, the Bakiga who form the wider community of Abafuruki, non-indigenous people threatened to defend their lives and property once attacked by Banyoro.

The audio clip was played on a number of local stations in Hoima.  It also went viral on social media. This prompted the District Security Committee to engage proprietors of the stations to stop playing the sectarian content. Police have also recorded statements from some of the people suspected to have been involved in the production and transmission of the audio clip.

Julius Hakiza the Albertine Region Police Public Relations Officer, says nobody has been arrested in connecting to the audio clip. BUKITAREPA is a local association based in Bunyoro that is pushing for British compensation for the atrocities committed against the Banyoro by the colonial administration through courts of law.

Last year BUKITAREPA through D&G Associates dragged all land boards in the seven districts in Bunyoro region to court accusing them of issuing land titles on the land they have never owned. BUKITAREPA applied for an interim order restraining the seven land boards from issuing the land titles, which was granted.