Foreign Correspondents Flee Uganda over Arrest Threats

HRNJ National Coordinator Robert Ssempala

In a bid to reduce cases of drunk driving and promote responsible drinking, information pills abortion Uganda Breweries Limited has rekindled its Red Card Campaign to engage beer consumers about the dangers of alcohol consumption.

We talked to Ms. Rhona Namanya, this UBL Corporate Relations Manager communications about responsible drinking and below are the excerpts.

What is the Red card Campaign about?

The Red card is a Responsible Drinking campaign, view an initiative by Uganda Breweries Limited to inform, sensitize and engage our consumers about the dangers of alcohol misuse. We recognize that our products are unique, that when misused they can be harmful. Therefore this campaign is geared at helping people to make informed decisions about alcohol consumption, including, choosing not to drink. Running for the last 4 years, the campaign aims at tackling two major issues; dangers of underage drinking and of driving under the influence of alcohol.

We have recently re- kindled the Red card to drink driving campaign and our strategy this year is to appeal to people’s good sense by putting the choices into their own hands. We have dubbed the campaign “Your Night, Your Choices, Your Consequences. Don’t Drink and Drive”

What we are saying with this campaign is that we can give you all the tools and information regarding responsible drinking but at the end of the day, or night in this case, it is up to an individual to make the right choice.

Who is it targeted at?

This campaign is targeted at all alcohol consumers but with a special leaning towards the more youthful members of society ages 18-34.The reason is that according to the Traffic Report of 2014, most accidents are caused  by people ages 25-34. By targeting this message at 18 year olds, we are trying to ensure that we get to them young enough so that they do not become yet another statistic. Every year, we have about 310 road accidents caused by drunk drivers.

You have mentioned that the campaign is in its 4th year, this seems like something UBL is dedicated and passionate about. Why is it important to UBL?

First of all let me say that no company likes to see its product being misused. For that reason therefore, Uganda Breweries Limited has pledged to continue to drive the Alcohol in Society (AiS) agenda in Uganda to ensure that the use of alcohol does not cause harm to consumers.

Alcohol is a huge part of society. It is very much related to enjoyment and celebration, sharing, pleasure, unwinding, socializing etc. However, when consumed irresponsibly, it can have dire consequences on our lives and the society.

I am sure we all have been affected by it one way or another, maybe you lost a friend, sibling, brother, or you yourself have spent a night in jail and missed work etc. So as a company we knew the right thing to do is to address the responsible way people can interact with Alcohol while continuing to be productive members in the society, in their homes and at work. In Particular, preventing drink driving is at the cornerstone of UBL’s mission to promote responsible drinking to ensure the enjoyment of its respectable brands

So what should we expect to see from the campaign?

This is a multi-media campaign that is going to entail messaging across all media platforms as well actual engagements with the consumers. We have ambassadors that will engage with consumers in bars at point of consumption, in stores at point of purchase as well as other avenues like gas stations as well as responsible serve training with bar owners and bar men.

Do you face any challenges in pushing this campaign?

We have faced a number of challenges, yes. For example, research year on has shown that there is huge awareness of this campaign by the public. The hardest thing has been converting that awareness into actual behavioral change. So you have heard the message, what next? And so today I am appealing to all the listeners to take that final step from knowing the dangers of Drunk Driving to making the good decision not to jump behind the steering wheel after a night out of heavy drinking. Ask a sober friend to drive you home. Or drop the car at home before you begin your night of fun and take a cab home.

Do you have some success stories from when this campaign launched?

Like I mentioned before, we have raised awareness of Drunk Driving and Responsible Drinking with our campaign messages to about 87% according to an evaluation report by Millward Brown, a global research firm. We also have people reaching out to us on social media commending our efforts in promoting responsible drinking. We may not know how many of these practiced what they heard, but as they say, knowledge is power. The more informed people are, the better placed they are to make the right decisions.
Human Rights Network for Journalists- Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) has accused condemned police for threatening to arrest foreign media correspondents, page who allegedly assaulted the DPC Kasangati Police, James Kawalya during the arrest of FDC presidential candidate, KizzaBesigye at his home.

HRNJ thus reported today that some correspondents have since fled the country for fear of being arrested.

On 20th February, an unidentified police officer pepper-sprayed Isaac Kasamani, a photo journalist for AFP while he was covering the arrest of Dr. KizzaBesigye at Kasangati, Wakiso District.

“The DPC for Kasangati police, James Kawalya declined to reveal the identity of the officer and instead blamed journalists for disobeying security orders,” HRNJ National Coordinator Robert Ssempala narrated to journalists at Hotel Triangle in Kampala.

“Police threatened to apprehend reporters who demanded that Kawalya reveals the identity of the officer; these have since left the country,” Ssempala revealed.

He noted that although the presidential, parliamentary and district elections were generally peaceful, there were several violations and unnecessary interference in the work of journalists and media houses.

Ssempala observed that a total 70 cases have so been compiled for a period of three months which include; physical assault, destruction of journalist’s tools, intimidation and closure of media houses and alleged shooting at reporters.

He also lashed out at the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen. Kale Kayihura, political candidates and their supporters in the different parts of the country together with H.E President Yoweri Museveni who have confronted reporters naming them ‘Rumor Mongers.’


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