Journalist accuses official from Ugandan ruling political party of assault

May 19, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

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By

Robert Ssewankambo

Edward Bindhe, a Uganda Radio Network (URN) journalist was last week assaulted by a senior ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party official, Rogers Mulindwa, while covering the launch of the party members’ registration in the central Ugandan town of Masaka.

Bindhe, the radio network’s Masaka based correspondent told press that prior to his assault by Mulindwa, the former football governing body FUFA Uganda’s spokesperson, he was first turned away from covering the event on grounds that he had no permission.

“I gave up and went to the hotel lounge to do my other work. As I was accessing my laptop, Rogers Mulindwa entered and asked me, “You, what are you still doing here, we evicted you from this place. Who are you?” I identified myself and told him that I was evicted from the meeting hall but decided to do my other work, since I had prior commitments at the same hotel” Bindhe said.

“He commanded me to leave the premises immediately, but I refused on grounds that the hotel was a public place. “It was then that he accused me of being an opposition FDC party spy. He slapped me and forcefully grabbed my neck in an attempt to strangle me. He then dragged me by the neck to the hotel managers and ordered them to ensure that I am not seen at the hotel again. In the process, one of the lenses in my glasses got damaged. I suffered breathing difficulties as he deeply squeezed my neck.” Bindhe further told press.

When contacted, Mulindwa denied assaulting the journalist, stating that he only told him to leave if he was not covering the event. “I told him to leave and he was even wearing a blue shirt and yet it was an NRM event. I never touched him” Mulindwa stated.

However sources at the hotel confirmed the assault allegations confirming that Rogers Mulindwa beat up the journalist and dragged him out of the hotel. “He really never had the right to send someone away from our hotel because it is a public place, where everyone is welcome.” the anonymous source told Ugandan press.

Bindhe opened up an assault case against Mulindwa at the Masaka Central Police Station. Musa Bwambale, the Investigating Officer stated that the police are ready to handle the matter.

“This is gross abuse of power by Mulindwa; his party must hold him accountable. The police should investigate this matter and pursue it to its logical conclusion” the Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda are quoted as saying.

 

 

 

 

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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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