The Manager Spice radio in Hoima has lost his job for offering airtime to opposition activists and politicians. On Saturday opposition leaders and civil society activists were in Hoima to popularize their electoral reforms campaign ahead of the 2016 general elections.
The activists that included FDC leader General Mugisha Muntu, DP President Nobert Mao, Former FDC President Colonel Dr. Kizza Besigye and Leader of opposition in Parliament-Wafula Ogutu among others addressed a mammoth crowd at Hoima boma grounds before proceeding for the 1 hour radio talk show.
Although the talkshow went on unhampered, it later cost the station Manager Geoffrey Magezi, his job. URN has established that ever since the talk show, Magezi has been under serious questioning by the Managing director, Edgar Agaba. This culminated into his eventual sacking on Wednesday morning.
In several email messages, Agaba demanded Magezi’s explanation on why he hosted the opposition activists without informing him and why he did not have the talk show talking points. He also tasked the manager to explain why the activists had not signed the visitor’s form after the talk show.
It’s after this that the former Procurement and Public Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) Executive director decided to sack his manager and this was officially announced in his April 15 email message sent out to members of the station’s Management team. According to the email copy seen by this reporter, Agaba says the decision was taken after prolonged discussions with Magezi about the Saturday talk show.
“I have extensively spoken to Magezi on the Saturday talk show. I have decided that Magezi hands over to Julius Kyamanywa who will be the Acting Station Manager with immediate effect.
Magezi will meet all of you and handover today and tomorrow. He should be done by end of tomorrow 16th April 2014.Magezi will NO LONGER act on behalf of Spice fm,” partly read the Email message Agaba sent out to the radio management team announcing the manager’s sacking and his replacement by the News Editor.
However, it remains not clear on whether the radio managing director acted under political pressure to sack his manager for giving airtime to opposition activists. Efforts to reach Agaba on his known mobile telephone were futile as this reporter’s calls could not go through. Spice FM has been the only radio station in Hoima and Bunyoro in general, giving airtime to members of the opposition. The other radio stations Liberty FM and Hoima FM never give airplay to opposition views, specifically those from the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC.
Two years ago while on Kagadi Kibaale Community (KKC) radio in Kibaale district, then FDC president Kizza Besigye had his live talk show end prematurely after the radio eventually went off air. Although the opposition leader and his entourage blamed this on government subbotage, the station management insisted the blackout was due to a technical hitch.
In a telephone interview with local media0 on Thursday, Magezi confirmed the development, and added that he had handed office to his successor Julius Kyamanywa on Wednesday morning as directed by his former boss. Declining to comment further, Magezi who still had a two year contract with the radio station, maintained, his sacking was unfair.