NTV Uganda’s Head of News Maurice Mugisha has been appointed deputy managing director for Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, the public broadcaster. This is part of UBC’s restructuring process to revamp operations.
In August 2016, ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze set up a seven-member committee to review UBC performance and recommend ways in which the broadcaster could operate efficiently.
On the new recruitments, the review committee’s chairman, Dr Peter G. Mwesige, said: “Maurice is a friend and professional who is committed to excellence in broadcasting. But his appointment and the arrival of others at the corporation will not deliver the public broadcaster we deserve if the bigger questions about the place and role of UBC are not asked and answered in a participatory and transparent manner.”
After the review committee presented its findings, Minister Tumwebaze installed a revamp committee to streamline human resource and TV programming.
Ms Nada Andersen, who was part of the revamp team, said that recruitment alone will not improve UBC.
“Maurice will bring sanity, style, poise,” she said. “He is an all-round broadcaster and will turn UBC into a success but he needs people to work with. Unfortunately, the company is currently understaffed because while internal recruitment is complete, external recruitment is not, due to financial constraints.”
Ms Andersen, whose contract ended in July, said that UBC faces a host of other problems such as accumulated debt of Shs80 billion, numerous court cases, dysfunctional equipment, archaic means of internal communication and administration systems, delayed payment of salaries, poor handling of finances, lack of accountability and lack of a current board.
According to Dr Mwesige, who is also the executive director of African Centre for Media Excellence, many people continue to look at UBC as a state or government broadcaster while some even see it as a ruling party mouthpiece. The character of the public broadcaster envisaged in the Broadcasting Policy of 2006 is still not embraced.
The 2016 review committee report reads in part: “UBC is supposed to be a public broadcaster that serves and is accountable to the public. It is supposed to be an autonomous institution that serves all sections of society, not only the government of the day, driven by the key principles and values of editorial independence, impartiality, accountability, distinctiveness, excellence, diversity and universality…”
Ms Andersen said that instead of only using UBC as a mouthpiece for its propaganda, the government should fully fund the media house and not let it struggle to operate as a commercial station. She added that the broadcaster should be allowed to dispose of some of its assets and use that money to pay some of its bills and debts.
In April 2018, as part of the restructuring process, UBC slashed 176 jobs and advertised 349 new ones.
In the new structure, three top positions were created — deputy managing director, which has now been filled by Mr Mugisha; director for finance; and director for administration.
Mr Mugisha declined to speak to us until after he has actually moved to UBC.
Mr Mugisha has been replaced by Josephine Karungi, a development announced by NTV on October 1st.