Journalists in Uganda protest against police brutality

January 16, 2015 OPINION/NEWS




Robert Ssewankambo

Cruelty against journalists recurred when police officers attached to the Jinja Road Police Station in Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, intercepted and pepper sprayed journalists who were peacefully walking to police headquarters to petition the Inspector General of Police against the violent attacks on journalists by police officers.

Through their umbrella body, Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), the journalists had earlier issued a press statement calling for a media blackout against the police force, until action is taken against errant police officers.

During the scuffle, the organisation’s National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala and two other journalists were arrested and detained but released without any charges against them after the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner of the Kampala Metropolitan Police, Kasalawo Christopher. They later proceeded to the suburb of Naguru where they met the Police Director of Operations, Felix Kaweesi, to seek urgent action against the brutal acts of Joram Mwesigye the Division Police Commander (DPC) of Old Kampala Police.

On the 12th of January 2015, Mwesigye assaulted and severely beat up a Wavah Broadcasting Services (WBS) Television cameraman Andrew Lwanga into a coma, and tore the trousers of another journalist Joseph Ssettimba of Bukedde Television, a government owned station.

During the meeting, Kaweesi apologised and condemned the actions of Mwesigye, saying that they were personal and did not reflect the true image of the police force. He further told journalists that the IGP had ordered for Mwesigye’ immediate suspension, arrest and detention pending investigations into his said gross misconduct. He is currently being detained at the Central Police Station in Kampala. Kaweesi also regretted the incident that occurred at the Jinja Road police station against journalists and vowed to take appropriate action.

A meeting between journalists and the Inspector General of Police has been scheduled for 15thJanuary 2015, where a petition against police brutality towards journalists will be presented by HRNJ-Uganda. In the interim, a media blackout against the police will continue.



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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: [email protected]

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