Is Someone Contriving Terrorism Through Naïve Journalism? [opinion]

For those who might have missed it, there appears to be a new page from the 7th edition of “Terrorism in Uganda.”

The other day, The Daily Monitor ran a story written by Edson Amanyire and Ruth Katusabe that leaves one with many unanswered questions. Good practice requires a writer to answer the basic questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? Those are the five Ws of journalism.

But this Amanyire and Katusabe story does not answer those questions at least not with clarity. It leads the reader to wonder what is afoot here.

“Church attackers cut off pastor’s head.” That is the article’s title it is a teaser that serves to draw the reader’s attention. It also serves as the answer to the first “Who” question. However, to put a spanner in the works, Amanyire and Katusabe answer another “Who” question by identifying the decapitated victim as a “worshipper.”

The pastor worships, this is true, but a good writer does not confuse the reader by identifying different characters with the same title. So, whose head it was remains unanswered. The writers identify the victim as 18-year-old Beata Mukachaka. They say it was Mukachaka’s head that was left on the altar. They also report that Mukachaka was preaching in the church at 11pm, the time at which the attackers hit.

Now that “Who” question about the attackers: Who are they? Amanyire and Katusabe say they, the attackers, retreated into a mosque. There are two suspects in detention. But police declines to name them. This seems too convenient. But let us move on.

The attackers retreated into a mosque and were armed with guns, bows, spears, machetes and axes, according to Amanyire and Katusabe. There was an exchange of gunfire between them and police, and police has tightened security in the district. The exchange Why?!

Assistant Inspector Grace Mwene, a police officer, was killed in the ensuing skirmish. The attackers retreated into a mosque. This means that their whereabouts are known. Ergo, the authorities have apprehended them. Have they? It does not seem so from the Amanyire and Katusabe story.

The next “W” calls for an answer to the “What” question.

There are several “What?” questions to answer. In one place, as a caption to the photo, The Daily Monitor identifies the church as “God is Good Pentecostal Church in Kyegegwa District.” In the body of the story, however, the same paper identifies the church in this sentence: “The attack was on Mungu Mwema (God is Supreme) Pentecostal Church in Karokarungi village, Hapuuyo Sub-county.”

Why then are the authors or authorities unable to identify the mosque the attackers retreated into? Retreating suggests returning or going to a safe place or regrouping. How do they know this? Who is the source of this information? Why doesn’t the source provide names and other relevant details?

This is a narrative that compels questions at every juncture of the reader’s effort. This narrative is suspect ab initio! Because it is, the conclusion it compels is nothing less. In the process, it is the kind of story that has the potential to do more damage, than inform the reader. Whatever the source is, I do not believe that bad journalism, and there is plenty to go around, is to blame.

That notwithstanding, I do not believe that the intrigue, inconsistency and everything in between dictate the conclusion that the entire story is contrived. If that be the case, and I am not necessarily suggesting a conclusion one way or the other, the inquiry would turn on whether or not someone or some people, albeit presumptively unbeknown to the writers, is or are pursuing an agenda yet to be determined.

There are simply too many unanswered questions to suggest otherwise. Who then would stand to benefit from alleging “terrorism”? Who would wish to promote the alleged “terrorist” incident? Why? What would be the purpose of undertaking such a course of action?

What have they calculated, to what end and why? Does history provide any clues to the reader? Is there a pattern of conduct that is consistent with the underlying scheme? Is it likely that Amanyire and Katusabe are unwittingly being used? Is there sufficient credible information, inconsistencies and the laundry-list of unanswered questions notwithstanding, to furnish the reader and general public with a credible basis for concern? If so, what is it?

The author is a UgandanMuganda living and working in the diaspora.

Source : The Observer

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