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Concern raised over broadcasters hosting traditional healers

Executive Director Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) Mr. Godfrey Mutabazi. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has been advised to regulate social and spiritual content on radio stations in Uganda.

Mr Badru Walusansa, a Commonwealth Correspondent to Uganda has said while they might stick to ‘formal and friendly content’ during day, broadcasters shift in night-time programming especially in the late hours (12am to 5am), airing content which he finds misleading to the unsuspecting listeners.

During one of his random surveys on what is aired out on three local radio stations, Walusansa said the first radio station he listened to during the late hours hosted a traditional healer who spoke with confidence how she could make one rich in just a blink of an eye.

“Listeners kept on calling in and asking for any amount of money from the traditional healer and the trick was before hanging up and opening eyes the money would be right in one’s hands. It’s, however, surprising that the traditional healer could purport to give out money to a tune of five hundred million to more than ten callers,” Mr Walusansa said, in his letter to the Daily Monitor published Thursday.

“What is also disturbing is that she would later instruct the callers to send her Shs15,000 through mobile money after receipt of her cash bonanza and on top of that take back the received money to her shrine for blessings. Surely what kind of thuggery is better than this? Imagine how many people are robbed of their money through such kind of sorcery acts. If you could as well dig deeper you would find out that such programmes on these radio stations are stage managed and the rationale in them is to delude peoples’ minds so that they are robbed clean,” he added.

According to the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) 2015 report, there were 292 operational FM radio stations spread all over the country, which in its sense, has widened the listeners’ choices, Mr Badru Walusansa says.

Adding: “UCC has heavily invested efforts in regulating political content aired out on radio stations to the extent of banning certain presenters and/or show hosts from appearing on different programmes that are presumed contrary to the views of government. However, it’s doing less on the social and spiritual content on the same radio stations. Therefore, the regulatory body should come out with clear guidelines intended to regulate such.”

In what came as a shock to the country, Traditional healers under their Association of ‘Uganda Ne Ddagala Lyayo’ last year petitioned Parliament requesting to be represented in parliament and in all local governments.

In their petition which they handed over to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on 3rd July, the traditional healers requested parliament to allot them one parliamentary seat.

The group said there are so many fraudsters who have infiltrated their work, thus asked parliament to enact a law to regulate their activities and empower them to serve better.

News of this petition was not well received by Clergy in the country, although the group purported that “Over 75% of Ugandans come to us for treatment. Even those who criticize us from churches secretly come to us for treatment. That is why we want to be given priority,” they claimed in their petition.

Speaking to the new vision, the president of the Association explained that “they are very unique since they exercise their healing through the guidance of spirits of the dead and other divine powers.”

They however distanced themselves from traditional healers who engage in ritual human sacrifices and eating human flesh, arguing such people are misguided by bad spirits.

By Paul W Dennis.

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