A request for research assistance from my former lecturer at Makerere University, Dr George Lugalambi, recently saw me perusing through The Monitor of 1998.  I was in Primary Six in 1998 and what I remember of the paper then, was the Children’s Voice pull-out. It was interesting, and looking at it again, made me nostalgic.

Something else struck me though. The headlines.  A uniform characteristic ran across the 30 copies I looked at.  Boldness! They had a playfulness about them without losing the seriousness of the story. There was a  fearlessness too, and a sureness of words that left me asking –where were the dogs to bite these pages to shreds when headlines like Museveni wanted over land, war; Museveni shops for political heir; Okiror, Mukula blast Monitor; We never fought for Kabaka – Museveni and Kabaka might fall with the Land Bill were published?

I’m still looking for the answer to that question. But I also know that that was The Monitor of 1998 and to expect the Daily Monitor of 2013 to be wearing the same attire, is to want too much.

The Monitor still wields authority, it still courts some belief and even optimism, that things, however upside down they are, can still be relayed with words that stand on their feet. Public officials, civil servants and individuals in key positions still turn to the paper and hope they are not featuring in it for the wrong reason. Why? Because even with whispers that ‘you guys have lost your spine and your identity, your teeth has been knocked out’, many still believe the watchdog role has not really been slit apart by the dogs we watch over.

Of course that doesn’t mean challenges do not exist. They do, and we stumble, even fall, probably a lot more today than those days. We’ll go into that scrutiny later, but for now…let’s ogle at some of the headlines and stories that was, once upon a time, when Monitor was in 1998.

[Note: The writer is a minority shareholder in the paper under review]


4 thoughts on “Once upon a time, when Monitor was in 1998

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