Parliament last week criticized government for the move to switch off the signal for analogue TVs sighting lack of preparedness for digital migration among the majority of ordinary Ugandans whom they say cannot afford the set top boxes (STBs) which currently cost between U Shs 170, 000-200,000.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga hence forth instructed the ICT state minister Nyombi Thembo to prepare a detailed statement regarding the matter this week.
The Sunrise’s Peter Muwonge talked to a cross section of Ugandans who expressed their views on the matter as follows:
Mbusa Bethel (Kasese District)
It makes no difference to us in Kasese District where we are like orphans when it comes to TV signals. Up to now, despite our endless pleas to the government for a long time. All those Ugandans who have been cut off are only beginning to taste the nasty experience we have come to accept as ours for a very long time. Welcome to the club!
We Ugandans are at the mercy of government together with our members of parliament.
Government and our MPs know our economic situation pretty well; let them in their wisdom decide what is good for this country giving information to the lowest income earners especially those who live in rural areas or only giving information to the rich city dwellers who already know most of the information and can afford the expensive decoders.
This is one of the scenarios that will prove to Ugandans that this government does not have its citizens at heart when it is pushing many of its policies. Even Idi Amin could not do this to us. I appeal to our Members of parliament to help us overturn this decision if possible or else most of us will be left in a black out for a very long time since we cant sacrifice food to pay for monthly TV services and we can also not afford the 150, 000/= for the alleged set top boxes (STBs).
While the intention might be good particularly to improve the quality of our TV services. I am disappointed that some local channels such as Bukedde, Urban and NBS TVs which the majority of us have been enjoying courtesy of the analogue signal are not accessible on some of the new decoders on sale. Let them help us!
It is unfortunate that this is coming at a time when Ugandans in rural districts like Kalangala and Buvuma have just began appreciating the value of news in development. I know of villages in Sese Islands for example where almost a whole village uses one citzen’s TV for news bulletins and now that his TV is cut off, the whole village is condemned to an indefinite black out.
The change is good especially for us who want to watch international sports particularly in the interest of improving the quality of TV pictures. The only challenge however is our parents in villages who are not able to pay for the new service at the moment.
It would have been prudent if government took the option of allowing the two signals to co- exist for a while in order to give a chance to Ugandans to familiarize themselves with the new services before phasing out the analogue signal completely.