Speaker suspends journalist from district council session

Ex Lira district Council Speaker Rashid Opio is among those in 'error'. FILE PHOTO.

Lira district Council Speaker Hon. George Rashid Opio on Thursday exercised his powers and ordered out from the Council session a political news reporter attached to Lira based radio QFM 94.3. [94.3 QFM LIRA]

Jimmy Krapt Olot was forced out of the Council Hall for what Speaker termed as ‘misconduct’.

Olot was suspended alongside three senior technocrats at Lira district local government.

Unlike Olot, Francis Okello Olwa, the District Community Development Officer [DCDO], Philips Ogwal, a Physical Planner and Robert Olua, a security officer at the district were inappropriately dressed and below the Council decorum, Speaker told the August House.

The three district employees had not tacked in their shirts while Jimmy Krapt Olot who did not stand up when National Anthem was being sang, got suspended from two consecutive council sittings.

“….the  press man on the left hand side did not stand up during the singing of the national anthem, Sergeant-at-arm take him out because that is disrespecting the council; he should not attend the next two Council meetings,” Speaker Opio ordered

Both journalist and the three senior civil servants then matched out on orders of the speaker to pave way for Council business which majorly discussed the controversial   Rural Electrification Agency [REA] power extension to Ngetta sub-county.

Journalist speaks out

TND News Uganda’s Frank Oyugi caught up with Jimmy Krapt Olot after his suspension by the speaker.

According to Olot, he was surprised by the speaker’s decision because he did not show any kind of disrespect as alleged.

“I am shocked the speaker reacted this way. The media practice across the World is that journalists are allowed movements to record or take pictures even when the national anthem is being sung. If he has evidence, let him write to me and I am also consulting my lawyers,” Olot told our reporter Thursday

Amid protest and demand for compensation from some locals of Ngetta sub-county, Lira district council resolved that REA should finally be allowed to extend power to Ogura, Ongica and Iwal parishes, a project which was earlier opposed by the local community.

In her submission, Santa Angela, the Woman councilor for Adekowkok and Ngetta sub-counties observed that the community should be told the truth that there is no compensation for poles passing inside their land.

“Our People should be told the truth so that they embrace this programme because we need electricity for development to thrive,” Angela told the Council.

This was however met by a stunned resistance from the district Youth Councilor, James Omara Elem

“Whereas we need the Rural Electrification Agency to extend power, procedures must be followed and our people must be adequately compensated,” Omara argued.

It however took the leader of government business and vice chairperson

George Okello Ayo who is also the area councilor of Ngetta sub-county, doubling as the Vice LC5 chairperson whilst Head of Government Business submitted in support of the REA project which was adopted as Council position.

Recently a section of the community in Ngetta had opposed the idea of power grids passing through their lands without compensation but the sub-county council of Ngetta sat on Tuesday and resolved that the power extension project should continue.

Read more: Lira community rejects power extension: It is to ‘seize our rock’

Erute South MP Odur’s submission.

Jonathan Odur, the Erute South County MP who was in attendance clarified that he was not opposed to REA extending power grid to Ngetta as alleged by some local politicians.

Odur said he did not incite the community to rebel. But he noted that there is another project of Victoria Marble Granites which requires power to be extended to hills like Opila which requires initial compensation of those whose land shall be encroached on.

Other business.

Meanwhile, the Council also among others recommended for the dismissal of Hudson Omoko, the district engineer who is accused of failing to account for shillings 11m spent on bush clearing of new Akii-Bua stadium site to be built at former Erute government prisons lands.

The same council meeting also saw the swearing in of Lawrence Egole and Stella Adongo who were recently elected as workers’ representatives.

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