The Uganda Police Force is facing a baptism of fire for what appears a deliberate plan to harass and obstruct journalists from executing their assignments especially in covering the unfolding political events in the country.
Since last week many journalists have been detained while covering developments outside Dr Kizza Besigye’s residence in Kasangati, approved http://chubeast.com/components/com_k2/views/item/view.json.php Wakiso District.
On Monday, http://chesapeakebaydiningguide.com/wp-includes/class-wp-meta-query.php journalists photographing piglets thrown near the eastern State Lodge at Nakasero were briefly detained.
Today, NBS journalist Remmy Bahati was arrested outside Besigye’s home.
These actions have infuriated the media fraternity, with many threatening to break ties with police.
Human Rights Network for Journalists said “Police should stop this continued persecution of journalists.”
The body charged with protection of Ugandan journalists’ freedoms added: “It is the mandate of journalists to disseminate information in whatever kind of form.”
Deputy police publicist Polly Namaye said the law enforcement body today arrested three people for “obstructing Police Officers on duty and disobeying Lawful orders given to them by the Kasangati Division Police Commander Superintendent of Police James Kawalya.”
She said the guidance (order) was to park their vehicles at the parking area Police had gazetted for parking.
“Some members of the visiting group of about 35 people complied and parked their vehicles while others objected, necessitating their arrest. Those arrested are: Ssempijja Ismail, Remmy Bahati (Journalist) and Ingrid Turinawe.”
Namaye promised that police is committed towards working together with media harmoniously.
However, Namaye said all journalists should “maintain a professional code of conduct and to desist from disobeying lawful orders aimed at managing public order.”
Andrew Lwanga, a journalist previously working with WBS television had his spine damaged in a ruthless attack by Old Kampala DPC Joram Mwesigye last year.
Tuesday afternoon, pill http://davidyoho.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-links-list-table.php police added to the list of journalists who have tasted its sour side, cheapest http://cogocapital.com/lp/wp-content/themes/squared/thrive-dashboard/thrive-dashboard.php NbsTelevision’s Remmy Bahati, who was roughly grabbed and bundled in their infamous black van.
Bahati, who was relaying live the events outside the resident of incarcerated opposition Politian Col Dr Kizza Besigye was whisked away together with FDC’s Ingrid Turinawe to Kasangati Police.
Just the previous day, another NBS Journalist Turyagumanawe Elijah was arrested from the same spot and detained at the police station.
Last week, another 7 reporters were arrested while reporting Besigye’s arrest from his Kasangati home.
But all these journalists who have been maltreated by police have themselves to blame, at least in the view of fellow journalist and former Presidential media secretary Tamale Mirundi.
Earlier before Nbs’s Bahati was arrested, Murundi while appearing on the station in his regular talk show, said that Journalists covering the proceedings at Besigye’s home had prompted police’s harassment.
He noted, “Many of them think they are diplomats; you are not untouchable.”
Mirundi went on to describe the arrests, manhandling of reporters and destruction of their equipment by police as “a professional hazard,” and accused the reporters of not being able to use their judgment to assess the situation.
“A professional journalist must assess and evaluate the situation,” he said. “Journalists outside Uganda are going trough tougher times. They are targeted by soldiers. How many journalists have been killed in Iraq?”
Earlier, while defending their conduct, the police spokesperson Fred Enanga accused the reporters at Kasangati of “behaving like politicians” and “showing sides.”
Besides, according to Mirundi, many of the reporters are mercenaries hired by the bad elements and not professional journalist.
He noted, “Because the police knows that you are mercenaries that is why you are harassed.”
A verbal exchange is unfolding between the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and one of its top ranked officers Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde.
The altercation follows a Monday night incident in which Gen Tumukunde was allegedly shot in the leg in the middle of an election fracas in Fort Portal District.
Gen Tumukunde was witnessing the voting exercise for the Western Youths MP seat, approved http://cides.med.up.pt/templates/yoo_revista/warp/systems/joomla/layouts/com_search/search/default.php in which his son Amanya Tumukunde contested and lost to Mwine Mpaka Rwamirama, shop http://crfg.org/wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/includes/wc-term-functions.php son to State Minister animal industry Bright Rwamirama.
The General is bitter with the manner in which the police and the national army have handled this incident.
Early on Tuesday morning when the news emerged of Tumukunde being shot, http://cherrylanefarms.com/wp-admin/includes/class-theme-installer-skin.php the army quickly responded, dismissing the reports as false.
The UPDF spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda said the General on the contrary was hit by a teargas canister.
Tumukunde, immediately fired back at a press conference in Fort Portal town confirming that it was indeed a bullet that caught him and not a canister.
He was quoted as stating, “Do you think as a General I don’t know the difference between a teargas canister and a bullet?” he asked.
In response, the Army spokesperson faulted the General for meddling in the youths elections, saying that this was demeaning for a soldier of his caliber.
Ankunda remarked, “In all fairness and with due respect, what would a general, worth his salt be doing at youth election at 2am?”
He added, “You cannot fight with a pig in the dark and then claim you’ve been made dirty.”