Amid the ongoing government efforts to rejuvenate Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), another brawl has come to the surface, pitting two top administrators.
Mrs Nada Andersen, who is part of the Ministry of ICT’s UBC Revamp Team, found herself in the limelight this week, following the surfacing of an audio recording in which she disparaged one of the key personalities at the national broadcaster, veteran journalist Tony Geoffrey Owana.
In the recording, which Andersen says was taken privately and without her consent, she asserts that Mr Owana has grown too old to be on television.
“The reason I don’t want Mr Owana to be on TV is because he is too old. We need to make this station a young station; for young people,” she says.
“No one wants to listen to an old man taking sh** for one hour for 16, or 17 year olds.”
“How can I explain to a teenager that, now you need to sit and listen to Mr Owana for one hour? Who’s gonna watch?”
The 55 year old Owana, who has been working at UBC for seven years, is known for his passion about Uganda’s history and the tales of the National Resistance Army, which fought to bring the current NRM regime into power.
One of his last high profile interviews, in which he sat down with First Son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Owana faced harsh criticism on social media, for wadding the interview with legends of the old bush war.
Since Mrs Andersen and her team’s arrival, Mr Owana was removed from air assigned to head the Corporation’s Library and Archives Department.
When we reached him to comment on Andersen’s concerns, Owana was initially hesitant to comment, saying, “I don’t know really where that thing will end.”
He told us however, that if his bosses felt he is not wanted anymore, he would “submit” himself to the authorities.
He said nonetheless that he wasn’t aware of Andersen’s concerns, since the two rarely talk.
“I have no official communication; I also saw it on social media,” he said.
“I have had one meeting with her in my capacity as head of library and she has never told me about anything; not that I have met her many times, but we have never had any confrontation.”
Ms Andersen in a lengthy phone interview with our reporter this afternoon confirmed that the voice in the recording was hers, but said it was taken privately and without her knowledge or consent.
“The recording was obtained in an unprofessional and criminal way,” she told us, refusing however, to reveal the person who took it “because investigations are ongoing.”
Andersen implied that Owana was behind the taping since the person she was conversing with was “one of his close associates.”
Prodded on whether she had filed a police case, Andersen said, “I am in consultations with the Ministry of ICT on whether we should do that, but I was advised that we should not waste our time with people’s foolishness. We have a job to do; there is no reason to give Mr Owana and his clique any more time.”
On why she hasn’t talked to Owana about her concerns, Andersen said his transfer to the Library was a message clear enough.
“If that wasn’t clear to him, I have no inclement to be explaining team decisions to him.”
Commenting on why Owana needed to leave the air, Andersen told us, “There is a background to this entire fracas. If UBC has to transform, it cannot remain an organisation where people behave as if it is in their private pockets.”