Abubaker Lubowa, one of the contestants for the top seat of journalists’ body, Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) has said that he intends to unite all journalists in the country if he wins the upcoming elections.
Mr Lubowa, a photographer with the Namuwongo based Newspaper, Daily Monitor, Saturday morning told SoftPower News in an interview that most of the problems media practitioners face in Uganda, are caused by lack of a forum uniting them.
“We intend to use the first one hundred days of my service, to register all journalists in the country, including freelancers so as to account for what befalls them while on duty,” Lubowa explained.
“It really surprises that anybody can claim to be leading people whose number he doesn’t know. There are cases where owners of some media houses can’t identify their employees,” he added.
Mr Lubowa, 32, says several journalists are grappling with cases of low wages, sexual harassment as well as delayed payments but have nowhere to run to. He says that his leadership will address these issues with immediate effect.
He further explained that he was invigorated to join the UJA race basing on the rising violations of media rights in the country, with no solutions.
Asked about the moment he will never forget while on duty, a soft-spoken Lubowa with tears almost running out of his eyes, explained the day he survived being stoned to death by angry residents of Kasokoso in Wakiso district over land. They had developed bias towards journalists who had run a new story they thought was inappropriate the previous day.
Mr Lubowa is a cousin to Kira municipality Legislator, Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda. He studied from Villa Road Primary School, Masajja SS, Nyendo Mixed SS and Masaka SS before graduating from Islamic University In Uganda (IUIU) with a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2012.
He would would later join Monitor Publications Limited where he works as a senior photographer. His outstanding photography and eye for detail has won him numerous Awards including the prestigious Uganda Press Photo Awards.
Since the year 2013, he has scooped seven (7) Prizes under the Uganda Press Photo Awards for his photography.
But his frontline role given that he primarily covers protests, political and sometimes violent events has often placed him in harms way in his pursuit of the photo that tells a story. Abubaker has on several occassions been arrested and assaulted by police officers in the line of his work.
A case in point was when the Kaweesi murder suspects were first brought to court. He says he was ordered by police on gun point to leave the court premises.
On top of receiving numerous anonymous phone calls threatening him for covering Opposition news events, he was banned by state authorities from covering President Yoweri Museveni events for the same reason. But he was later given approval to cover Presidential events
Lubowa is standing with NBS TV’s Kazibwe Bashir Mbazira who yesterday told SoftPower News that he intends he intends to revive a ‘dysfunctional’ UJA.
The Uganda Journalists Association was formed in the early 1960s and has had several Presidents including the former Presidential Press secretary, Mr Tamale Mirundi.