The urbanization state minister, Persis Namuganza, who also serves as the Bukono constituency member of parliament, has called for a police investigation into the individuals who received Emyoga funds meant for journalists in Namutumba district.

Namuganza made this request during the belated Press Freedom Day celebrations in Namutumba district on Monday morning. Her call came in response to a complaint from Joseph Sooka, chairperson of the Namutumba Journalists Association (NAJA). Sooka claimed that although Namutumba has three constituencies, each entitled to a journalist’s Emyoga Sacco, local leaders frustrated their efforts to access these funds.

Sooka noted that Namutumba is home to 50 journalists working for both regional and national media outlets. They had formed two saccos, hoping to receive a share of the 90 million shillings allocated for journalists in the district. However, they later learned that the funds had been diverted to other individuals.

Sooka expressed frustration that their efforts to audit the alleged fraudsters, who deceived district officials into clearing them for Emyoga funds, have not been successful. He mentioned that officials continually asked for more time to conduct conclusive inquiries, causing the process to drag on for years and diminishing any hope of accessing the funds.

Namuganza emphasized that journalists are citizens who deserve access to government funds like Emyoga, and it is unfair for these funds to be allocated to others. She highlighted that such funds were intended to boost journalists’ incomes to supplement their meager earnings.

Jane Namukuve, the Namutumba community liaison officer, promised to follow up on the matter with the institution’s investigative arm to ensure proper accountability for the funds meant for journalists. Namukuve noted that journalists play a key role in community mobilization against fraud, and it is the police’s responsibility to investigate any corruption involving money designated for these “watchdogs.”

Namuganza also expressed concern that journalism has been infiltrated by saboteurs who are paid by detractors to blackmail others for financial gain.


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