Senior Police officer assaults two journalists in Uganda

January 14, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

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By

Robert Ssewankambo

A senior police officer, Joram Mwesigye, the Division Police Commander (DPC) for Old Kampala, Uganda, on the 12thJanuary 2015 assaulted two journalists, Andrew Lwanga of Wavah Broadcasting Services (WBS) Television and Joseph Ssettimba working with the government owned Bukedde Television.

Lwanga sustained injuries on the head and is currently admitted at Mulago National Referral Hospital while Ssettimba had his trousers torn during the scuffle.

The duo was covering a demonstration by a group of unemployed youths who were reportedly heading to the police headquarters in Naguru to petition the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen. Kale Kayihura. They were intercepted and dispersed by police along the Namirembe road at around midday.

 

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Joseph Ssettimba told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda that Mwesigye hit him with a wire which hooked up his trouser, hence it being torn. He said his video camera was destroyed in the process and has reported a case of assault and malicious damage of his property at the Central Police Station in Kampala.

Andrew Lwanga was unable to talk to the media as he lay weak on his admission bed at hospital, his head swollen. Eye witnesses explained that he was hit twice on the head by Mwesigye who also smashed his camera as he said he was tired of journalists, “Stop your recording, am tired of journalists, go go away,” a journalist quoted Mwesigye as having said. Another journalist said Mwesigye threatened him with shooting, “Go away, I can even shoot you, as he tried to reach for a gun though he did not get it, which forced him to run and search for it in his car.”

Herbert Zziwa of K-FM, a Nation Media Owned radio station, stated “Much as I was not beaten, my audio recorder was damaged by the police. A group of journalists later stormed the central police station demanding for action against Mwesigye, threatening to take drastic measures if the police leadership don’t take up the matter.

 

 

 

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Robert Ssewankambo

Robert Ssewankambo is a Ugandan writer. Working currently on a freelance basis, he is a regular contributor to major newspapers in Uganda and electronic online magazines and media sources in Africa, such as the Bukedde newspaper, Hindered radio, Red Pepper, Eddobozzi newspaper and African Interest online.

For media enquiries, contact Robert at the following email address: sewankamborobert@gmail.com

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