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Media houses threaten to sue government

30 October 2014, 13:21 Godfrey Olukya

Kampala - Ugandan media owners are considering suing the government for failing to pay media houses for running mobilisation campaigns for the national Identity card project which started in March.

Uganda is the only east African country without national identity cards. After all East African Community member countries resolved to issue national identity cards to their citizens, the government of Uganda came up with a programme to issue cards to all citizens.

Over 50 media houses including newspapers and FM radio stations ran adverts calling for people to fully participate in the identity card registration exercise.

All went well and over 8 million people registered to get the first ever national identity cards.

In a heated meeting held Kampala, media owners from different media houses across the country raised concerns over delayed payment of UGX 1.5 billion.

They all claim that they were contacted by the national security system and internal affairs ministry to run adverts mobilising citizens for the exercise.

The owners through their umbrella body Uganda Media Owners Association say such delays cause financial losses to media houses which are commercially based and now call on the project manager and ministry to pay off all media houses as committed in the contract.

Uganda Media Owners Association official in charge of upcountry media houses, Julius Tumusiime, said, ''We have been left with no alternative other than suing the government so that the government can be ordered to pay us immediately. We have been remiding those responsible to pay is but they do not respond.

The chairpersons of the umbrella body, Azim Twawari confirmed that he has communicated to government officials several times but have turned a deaf ear thus forcing them to seek legal redress over the matter.

Ministry of Finance official, Habert Okema, said that as far as they are concerned, they released all the funds meant for the identity cards project.

The government has promised to start issuing out the identity cards to those whose particulars were captured during the registration exercise before end of this year.

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