Case Against Daily Monitor Editors Kicks Off

The case in which two Daily Monitor editors are accused of forging President Yoweri Museveni’s letter by altering it, has begun.

The case against Mr Daniel Kalinaki, the managing editor, and Mr Henry Ochieng, the political editor kicked off on Tuesday with the Minister for Presidency Ms Beatrice Wabudeya telling court that she was surprised to see the contents of a confidential letter on land ownership and political rights in Bunyoro region written by President Museveni addressed to her in the press.

Ms Wabudeya said: “Cabinet matters are confidential and the matter that was addressed to me was appearing in papers. Nobody had asked me for the letter and nobody knew whether I had got it or not.”

The articles in question are Museveni drops tribal bomb shell published on July 31, 2009, and another was Anger over Museveni tribal talk published on August 2, 2009.

According to the minister, the July 15, 2009 letter written by the President was addressed to her as the chairperson of the Cabinet committee to guide her in the tasks of handling the matter of land ownership and political rights in Bunyoro region, western Uganda.

In her testimony that lasted for over four hours, she said the editors altered some of the content in that letter.

She cited some alterations as follows; the word Bahuma to read Bahima, ring fencing LC5 position in Bunyoro and sub-county leadership except for areas of Kasiita and Luteete to ring fencing sub county leadership in the whole of Bunyoro region.

Other alterations she cited in the letter are; absentee landlords should be compensated to absentee landlords should leave the land, traditional chiefs to traditional chiefs like of Mengo in Uganda and lastly the committee should work on the principals mentioned above to see whether they can work to the committee must see them work. 

When asked by the editor’s lawyer, Mr James Nangwala, in her opinion what she would make of the President’s letter in line with what was published, she said: “I felt that the paper wanted to portray the President in a negative way as being tribalistic.”

Prosecution alleges that the editors on July 31, 2009, and August 2, 2009, at the Monitor Publications Ltd offices in Kampala, despite publishing the correct content of the letter on the newspaper’s website on July 31, they subsequently forged that letter by way of introducing alterations in the Sunday Monitor of August 2 2009, on page 4 titled ‘Museveni’s letter on Bunyoro land question’

However, the scribes denied all the allegations. The hearing resumes on December 9.

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