Leader of Opposition in Parliament Hon Wafula Oguttu has come out to question the continuing infringement on the rights of journalists at the hands of the Uganda Police officers.
Wafula; himself a seasoned journalist is the latest voice onto the spreading nationwide condemnation of Police brutal treatment of journalists in the country.
Last Monday, the Division Police Commander of Old Kampala Jorum viciously tortured Andrew Lwanga, the WBS photo journalist during a normal coverage of a demo in Kampala.
Mr Mwesigye is currently undergoing trial at the Buganda road court on charges of assault and malicious damage, something the LoP applauded as deserving.
He however condemned the continuous trend of such heinous acts and questioned Uganda Police’s claims that it’s Pro-people.
“This is not the first time journalists or Ugandans were being tortured by the police for doing their rightful duties, an otherwise thankless job,” he noted.
“About a year ago the Daily Monitor and the Red Pepper were closed for over a week for reporting stories on remarks by Gen. David Ssejusa. Over the same matter, journalists and other members of the public rightfully demonstrated against the closure in the process of which they were also viciously tortured by the police. Is this the so-called Peoples’ Police? Which people?”
Most disturbing, Oguttu said was the fact that the police officers involved in the heinous crimes are being promoted instead of being charged.
“There is for example, the infamous Arinaitwe Gilbert who sprayed Dr. Besigye with dangerous chemicals; and the officer who tortured and murdered civilians in Natete, during the 2009, September riots.”
In May 2011, during the famous Walk to Work protests against souring inflation, Hon Oguttu tasted the wrath of Police as he was bundled on a pickup truck after being arrested in the demos.
He noted a statement today, that demonstration itself is not just a right but a matter of duty for every Ugandan to rise up and defend the constitution whenever and wherever it is being violated by anyone.
“Article 221 of the Constitution of Ugandan is very clear about the protection of Ugandans while performing their duties. Don’t the police know this?”
“The Anti-Torture Act 2012 clearly states what is expected of all security operatives and how they ought to handle civilians. How can someone be a DPC without this basic sense of the law in his head?”
Oguttu called upon all people who value the role of the media to be vigilant on the matter and to stand up to defend the Fourth Estate.
“Let’s make sure we follow this case and others before it to their rightful conclusion,” he added.