Ugandan Journalist Jailed After Clash With Janet's Security
A Ugandan journalist, who was on April 29 arrested during a function presided over by Janet Museveni, has been charged with inciting violence and remanded at Ntungamo local government prison.
Perez Rumanzi on Wednesday fell short of providing sureties at the Ntungamo Court.
The remanding of Rumanzi has infuriated journalists, with dozens concurring state is determined to suffocate the fourth estate.
A press statement is expected shortly from Uganda Journalists Association (UJA).
The development comes just a day after a WBS journalist William Ntege was clobbered by errant police officers as he covered an opposition political activity in Kampala.
The Daily Monitor freelance journalist was last month detained after he exchanged words with SFG personnel during the South Ankole Diocese Synod at Kyamate Cathedral in Ntungamo.
Janet was the guest of honour during the installation of the Diocese’s new members.
Special Forces Group publicist Edison Kwesiga said then Rumanzi’s movements at the function were interfering with the First Lady’s security.
The arrest sparked fury from journalists who condemned SFG’s high handedness and maltreating them during high profile functions.
Chimpreports.com broke the news of Rumanzi's arrest.
Journalists in Uganda have lately been under systematic attacks from security forces.
Recently, police beat up Observer photojournalist Edward Echwalu as he covered opposition leader Col. Kizza Besigye's arrest in Kampala.
It’s yet unclear whether Daily Monitor provided legal backing for the news reporter.
Below is Rumanzi’s account of events that preceded his arrest.
I was invited by the bishop of South Ankole to cover the function on which the First Lady was the guest of honor.
At the same function, I was to be confirmed as an Anglican Christian. In fact I was confirmed before Hon. Janet arrived.
Most important was that I knew the usual procedure of security clearance which I complied with.
Thereafter, I left with my camera behind with State House security personnel to reduce the memory card load from the neighbouring town.
When I returned, I received my camera and started taking pictures as usual.
I was later asked by a PPU (Presidential Press Unit) photographer whether I was cleared for the function. I replied in the affirmative.
After a minute, he signaled the same security officer I had left my camera with to take me out and ask whether I had been cleared.
He took me out thus walking me around. I was later introduced to one Capt. David Rurekura who after another walk asked me to put away my camera.
I sent it back to town (Ntungamo). Then I came back to pray since I had gotten confirmed.
Rurekura told me I would not be allowed to enter church. I asked "why?" Rurekura told me to just go away.
I resisted at first and he ordered me to sit down in front of people. This time I said no.
I said I would one time enjoy my rights as a journalist and this is what Rurekura said:
“I will not wonder what kind of shit that will come. If at all he is to come or whether a foolish you shall be there or be a journalist to enjoy those rights. What I want is you now not here and arrested."
I replied: “Even Gadaffi had people who spoke like that and I guess you know what happened to him as I was whisked away by the police officers.”
Since then I was in cells until your (fellow journalists) voice went loud and I am finally free.
Thanks to you all for every comment you make here makes me stronger and healthier than I felt as I left the cells.
I have more stories from inside the cells than I had. I know the clear picture of the UPF now; they torture, they beat they do everything and they never investigate cases where there is no money.
I will come out with a story soon, hopefully.
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Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
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