Saturday, July 11, 2009

The weekend debate: How free should the press be?

Aaron Kirunda

The journalism symposium hosted on Tuesday by Makerere University's Mass Communication department threw up a number of interesting issues. Perhaps the most contentious debate was between The Independent’s Managing Editor Andrew Mwenda and Pastor Martin Ssempa over freedom of the press. Ssempa called for a “firewall” to be implemented by the government to protect Ugandan citizens from salacious and smutty material. In contrast Mwenda argued that the market should be left to decide which newspapers prosper and which go out of business.

So what role should the government play in censoring aspects of the press? Is the smut published in papers like The Onion, and the dead body photos in Bukedde, a price worth paying for a free press?


I definately agree with pastor sempa's idea of a firewall on press freedom.
It this so called freedom that has opened up young people to violence and
immorality. On the streets, everywhere you turn is polluted by pornographic
material and death, whose effect must not be left for the consumers to chose.
Remember most of these consumers do not even know how dangerous this material is
to them, yet they mix with the rest of society. Government should definitely tighten a bit to ensure media discipline.

Martin Ssempa attacks the Ugandan diaspora

You could never accuse Pastor Ssempa of mincing his words. In a public debate on professionalizing journalism on Tuesday (more of which later), Ssempa tore into Ugandans who have lived abroad for becoming “ideological sycophants”. He claimed they leave with one world-view and come back with another, having succumbed to “market forces of the soul” by taking scholarships at Western universities. Ssempa’s prime target was a change in moral attitude to issues like homosexuality, against which he has been leading a vocal campaign. He summed it up as follows: “Ugandans who go abroad are victims of Michael Jackson syndrome, they are born black but die white.”

So what does our readership in the diaspora think of this? Have you contracted the dreaded Michael Jackson syndrome?


Andrew Agaba: I tend to agree with Pastor Ssempa. I have seen journalists propagate worldviews that markedly contrast with local school of thought.

I do not know if Tabaire of Daily Monitor has lived in the diaspora, but certainly every one knows that Andrew Mwenda is an LSE alumni and Stanford alumni whose views on homosexuality are very inconsistent with majority Ugandans.

That said, Pastor Ssempa generalized, or perhaps was wrongly quoted, because so many Ugandans have lived abroad and have not become brainwashed. He himself has a second home in America.

Steely Sempa ... what a clown !

Andrew Agaba You must be a clown yourself to take Ssempa for a clown. Or they would say you drunk too many a kool aid.

Isaac Eyalama True. Ssempa is really a true African. Many Africans go to the west and turn out
un African. Some forget that they were products of a heterosexual union and
instead begin to adopt or approve of sodomy forgetting that allowing sodomites
to marry is completely contrary to the customs, history and culture of all
societies throughout Africa.

Byasi: i Totally agree with Ssempa,,he has lived there and knows what is going on,,and spending time with such individuals,i've also seen the change,our society doesn't tolerate homosexuality

Maloba Isaac: The worst someone should be colonised is his mind. i wonder why some so called
learned friends and the enlightened seem to even ignore common sense that
positives repel while the negative and positive attract. Homesexuality has never
been way of life but a confusion some people purpose to practise then they seek
to convince everyone that they were born that way. The west colonised Africa but
i wiil never allow my mind to be colonised by utter confusion, wickedness and

Steely: Alright then, how about a plain-ignorant-extremist and hate-monger!

Kankaka Edward Nelson: Steely, we notice you have a definite phobia for the truth and an enemy to what
is right. No mater which defence you give yourself, bad will always remain bad
whether you agree or not. My suggestion is that you revise your ideology and
ask God to remove the blindfold so you can see the truth.

bombokajb: i want to agree with Pr. Ssempa and one of the things i have observed is the
question of wether we are cowards or not. Back home there are things in Africa
that can't be even pronounced through the lips. So really "tukomewo

steely bambi "golokoka oyake" naye tuswala its a shame and to all of us
as creature in God's image

Uganda: Muslims Join Pastors in Gay Fight

Aaron Kirunda

Kampala — Muslims have teamed up with their counterparts from the Pentecostal churches to fight homosexuality in Uganda. The leader of the Muslim Tabliqs,the most fundamental Muslim group, Sheikh Sulaiman Kakeeto, said the issue of homosexuality affects all people regardless of their religious affiliations.

"We have decided to make a bond with our fellow religious leaders to fight homosexuality," Sheikh Kakeeto said at the launch of a campaign dubbed 'Kick Sodomy out of Uganda' in Kampala on Wednesday. "We want to work together and eliminate sodomy and other forms of sexual abuses in our society."

The two groups signed an agreement to guide their operations. Sheikh Kakeeto and Sheikh Muhammad Badru, the chairman the National Da'awa Association, signed on behalf of Muslims while pastors Michael Kyazze (Omega Healing Centre), Martin Ssempa (Makerere Community Church) and Solomon Male (Arising for Christ) signed on behalf of born again Christians. Sheikh Kakeeto called on the government to strengthen the law on homosexuality and incarcerate those caught in the act.

Pastor Ssempa said the coalition intends to embark on a campaign to sensitize communities about "the dangers of homosexuality." "We shall offer counsel ling, legal and material support to the affected people," he said.

The Muslim leaders also said that according to the quran, homosexuality is punishable by death in all its forms, from stoning to burning, if some one is convicted of the act.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and this coalition that was formed strengthens the efforts of Ugandans to fight this vice. According to an independent survey by stead man group. 95% of Ugandans do not support homosexuality at all and the rest were not sure.

Martin Ssempa on Michael Jackson

Aaron Kirunda

A public memorial service for Pop Star Michael Jackson was held on Tuesday at Staples Centre in California. But before this, Ugandans had converged at several bars to mourn the man who brought the moonwalk. The organizers included Pastors Peter Ssematimba and Martin Ssempa. Among the people in attendance was veteran educationist Fagil Mande. Before your jaw drops, yes, Uganda once boasted of real dancers. They may be a bit thick around the waist now, but decades ago, they could wriggle, moonwalk, break-dance and shake it. Some, like Sematimba, still do.
I cannot imagine the Rubaga Division Chairman or the now burly sports journalist Mark Ssali spinning at 360 degrees. But they once did.

Pastor Martin Ssempa

Before Pr. Ssempa went about preaching the gospel and fighting homosexuality, he was a dancer. He used to do it like Michael Jackson too and confesses that “I used to watch MJ videos when I was part of the All African Disco Championship in 1986. I was his fan and apart from his crotch-grabbing, I thought his dancing was inspirational.”
At these national and regional (East African) competitions, he emerged winner.
“I wanted to watch the competition but did not have money so I joined the competition as a participant. I hoped that I wouldn’t have to go through [it all] since I didn’t think I could dance and hoped people would boo me off [the] stage. They didn’t and I won.”

Pr. Ssempa still dances and if you want to catch him doing his thing, then you should visit his church, Makerere Community Church or catch him at a Papa San Concert or Prime Time at the Makerere Swimming Pool. He admits though that he is an “off-layer” when it comes to “break dance”. He does not divide the world into secular and sacred therefore he does not think that holding memorials for MJ is secular. Well, that rests our case over what he was doing on WBS’ Jam Agenda then. He was mourning a great man.