Museveni will not sack me — Ofwono
BY CYPRIAN MUSOKE, SANDRA LUCKY
AND CAROL NATUKUNDA
MOVEMENT director of information Ofwono Opondo has said nobody should expect President Yoweri Museveni to sack him over allegations that he shoplifted a pen and underwear from Uchumi Supermarket.
Speaking on the Capital Gang talk show yesterday, Ofwono dismissed the shoplifting allegations.
“The people behind the story thought they could intimidate me to keep quiet, resign or even be sacked by President Museveni,” he said.
“Nobody should expect President Museveni to sack me over the story,” he added.
Last week the media was dominated by the shoplifting story. It alleged that the Movement director was found with an undeclared Bic pen and underwear after a shopping spree at the supermarket.
Opondo said he had lodged a suit against The Monitor newspaper, seeking damages and compensation for libel.
He said that he had been “unfairly, maliciously, and vindictively treated” by the paper and added that they would have to prove their case before court.
“I am seeking an apology and compensation from The Monitor for this. For the politics of it, this is a hazard I must face,” he said.
Opondo said the Uchumi management had cleared him, using evidence recorded on their close circuit cameras and his conscience was clear.
“I thought I would never go to court against any media house. They can think they are making fun out of it, but I will walk to the bank smiling,” he said.
He said he would not be intimidated into resignation and that his boss the President had no reason to sack him. He said he had no apologies to make for having taken a pen and later paying for it.
Opondo said he has also applied for a court injunction to stop further damage caused by continuous publication of untruthful and malicious stories against him.
Monitor set to defend Opondo story in court
By Frank Nyakairu
KAMPALA — Mr Ofwono Opondo has threatened to sue The Monitor for reporting that he was intercepted and fined for suspected shoplifting at an up class shopping centre in Kampala on April 2.
This newspaper reported on April 5 that Opondo, the director of information at the Movement Secretariat, had been caught and fined for picking and not paying for a Bic pen and a piece of underwear from Uchumi, a grocery store at Garden City Mall.
Now Opondo, who has denied shoplifting and says he simply forgot to pay for the pen, wants, among other things, a front-page apology to him in this newspaper and payment of Shs100 million in general damages.
His lawyers – Mungoma, Mabonga, Wakhakha & Co. Advocates – wrote to The Monitor on Thursday claiming the article and the subsequent ones "lowered our client's estimation in the eyes of right thinking members of society and have placed our client's career in jeopardy".
They thus demanded that this newspaper apologises and pays within six hours or they sue. But The Monitor is having none of it. It has since instructed its lawyers, Nangwala, Rezida & Co. Advocates, to vigorously defend the story in the courts of law because it was not "false or malicious".
"Our clients stand by the publication and insist that in respect of the matters they published, your client's reputation was brought to its proper level," The Monitor lawyers replied Opondo's lawyers.
The Monitor also roundly rejected Opondo's 6-hour ultimatum to act on his demands "with the unseriousness it deserves".
In a letter to the editor published on April 6, Opondo denied taking underwear. As for the pen, he said he "inadvertently placed [it] on my shirt pocket and forgot to present for billing when I was done with the shopping". He said he had picked the pen from the shelves to use to mark the items on his shopping list.
The Monitor says it has five witnesses willing to testify against the Movement Secretariat official, who also is the spokesman of the NRM political organisation, in the courts.
Museveni will not sack me — Ofwono