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OPM iron sheets create storm among Teso Journalists  

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By David Oduut

As some section of journalists on Wednesday received iron sheets from the Office of the Prime Minister through Teso Affairs Ministry, a large proportion of them was left in disarray after failing to benefit.

About 60 journalists were set to receive 30 iron sheets each from the OPM, but a number of them were allegedly shocked after finding their names missing in the list.

A few months ago, there was excitement created among journalists in Teso when they received phone calls from purported statehouse and OPM coordinators that their names had been included in the iron sheet beneficiary list.

However, the Wednesday incident left many cursing and apportioning blame to others for maligning them.

“I have benefited nothing from this government though I lost my seven cows in 1987 during the insurgency and I didn’t know why my name missed in the beneficiary list for iron sheets yet am a journalist,” Michael Ejulut, said.

Benjamin Epeduno, the manager of Joshua FM in Katakwi district, demanded the office of the OPM to explain the procedure under which the list of the beneficiaries was generated.

Epeduno blamed the missing out of some people to benefit to the existence of partisan politics among coordinators of journalists who compiled the list of beneficiaries.

“I have wasted sh.30000 for transporting myself from Katakwi to Soroti district with the hope of getting the iron sheets. I don’t know how my name was dropped from the list yet I equally contribute to the socio-economic wellbeing of Uganda,” Epeduno said.

Some of the disgruntled journalists accused their media house bosses of stealthily including only their friends in the beneficiary list, ignoring many of them.

Gabriel Esiku, a sports writer at New Vision, said the government should appreciate all the journalists without discriminating them in any basis, to avoid division among the scribes.

“There is no need of segregating people because it brings confusion and hatred in theworkplacee,” Esiku said.

Emmanuel Esele, a journalist working with Voice of Teso radio, said the generation of the list exposed lack of transparency and division among the media bosses.

However a writer who anonymity said the selection of a few journalists by a government office explains the trend in which media professionalism could be compromised.

“I knew that my name could not appear in the beneficiary list because I have no personality to push for my name,” the writer said adding that those that have benefited are likely to lose value in their reporting.

Meanwhile, journalists accused Julius Esegu, the TBS radio manager and Sam Odongo, a reporter working with Continental FM in Kumi, as the people behind the selection of a few beneficiaries and leaving a large section of journalists out.

Esegu rubbished the allegations; claiming that he didn’t know the person who generated the list.

Odongo acknowledged generating the list and wondered how other people missed from the beneficiary list.

Agnes Akiror Egunyu, the state minister for Teso affairs, declined to pick our calls for a comment but one of the staff working in her Office, acknowledged that iron sheets are delivered in shifts and there is another list of Journalists to benefit.

She explained that she does not know how the list was generated, appealing to journalists who haven’t benefited to be calm and wait for the next chance.

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