Rdc calls for closure of radio maria in gulu

By Denis Otim


The Gulu Resident District Commissioner Cpt Santos Okot Lapolo has called for the closure of Radio Maria, a Christian based radio station owned by the catholic church in Gulu Municipality, for allegedly promoting hate speech.

In a letter dated February 13, written to the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Capt Lapolo said the radio station had been broadcasting live Sunday masses, which carry false messages against the government and its programs, government agencies, and other faith based organizations in the region.

He cited a homily aired on the radio station on Sunday February 11, in which the Radio Station Director, Rev Fr Charles Onen, falsely accused the Northern Uganda Diocese Bishop Rev Johnson Gakumba of burning articles of catholic worships in an open air crusade at Kaunda parade grounds.

In an audio shared to the Northern Era, Rev Fr Onen accused Bishop Gakumba of preaching ill against catholic churches, and participating in burning religious articles of worships to demean the catholic faith.

Capt Lapolo said the messages had caused tension among the Catholics and the Anglican in the region.

“…the preaching by Rev Fr Onen has falsely attacked the personality of Rev Gakumba which has since revived the old conflicts between the churches and the followers…,” the letter reads in parts.

Lapolo said the district security committee which sat on February 12 resolved that the radio station be closed, so that it doesn’t cause more harm and disunity among the people the region.

Early this week police intervened and stopped the open air crusade that was organized by born again pastors in the region, in which Bishop Gakumba was accused of burning the articles of catholic worships.

 Speaking to Northern Era in an interview, Bishop Gakumba however refuted the allegations that he participated in burning rosaries at the crusade, and denied ever stepping foot at the venue.

“I was contacted to be part of the crusade, but I turned it down because I was busy. I am surprised by the allegations that I burnt articles of catholic worships in a venue I never as… I can’t do such a thing,” Bishop Gakumba said.

Bishop Gakumba noted that the crusade organizers also used his photo on their banners without his knowledge and consent, yet he had declined to be part of the crusade.

The officer in charge of Criminal Investigation at Gulu Central Police station Ronald Were, said police was still investigating the utterances of Rev Fr Onen against Bishop Gakumba.

Efforts to reach out to the Minister for ICT and National Guidance Mr Frank Tumwebaze were unsuccessful, as his known phone number weren’t available by press time.