Newly appointed Deputy Director of the Uganda Media Centre (UMC), Shaban Bantariza says his role is to ensure that government remains visible to members of the public through service delivery.
Bantariza says that UMC’s mandate is to explain what government has done and where it has failed explain to the public clarify its position.
Bantariza says it is because of the failure to provide information to members of the public that there persistent problems like lack of drugs in hospitals. While on the other hand National Medical Stores – NMS says drugs are expiring on the shelves.
Bantariza explains that for such scenarios, its up to the Media Centre to work with the media so that the officer can be given a platform to explain.
Bantariza says his role will be to ensure he finds the right people to respond to public queries in regard to infrastructural development among other things.
He says district chairmen should be in position to tell how much revenue they generated locally and what they received from the government and also tell the people what they intend to do with the money.
Bantariza says because of lack of information flow people think government is doing nothing. He says for the first time people will know why local government had to return money to the treasury yet there are needs to attend to.
He emphasizes that their job is not to witchhunt civil servants but to get them to tell the public what they have done especially in regard to the promises made by the president of the day.
Bantariza says to ensure they achieve the set objectives they will work with existing institutions of government to show what was done and what has not been done.
Bantariza says that because of the failure by civil servants to do their job, there are numerous demonstrations in the communities demanding for services.
Bantariza says most government departments have resorted to publishing supplements in newspapers which is much more expensive than talking on radio.
Asked how the Media centre would achieve this especially when there is no law, Bantariza says the Media Centre was created by the President who is mandated by the constitution.
Bantariza says that in the past its only critics who have been allowed to speak, but maintains so much has been done and there is much more to do.
Before he can fully get to work, Bantariza will however have to deal with his legal troubles that saw him arrested and detained for over a week.
Bantariza is battling corruption allegations that he misused his position formerly as director National Leadership Institute (NALI) to enrich himself.