Police in Uganda arrest radio talk show host for criticising President

July 24, 2015 OPINION/NEWS




Robert Ssewankambo

Police and the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) for the Gulu District in Northern Uganda last week arrested Payira Bonny, a radio talk-show host and Programme Manager of Jal Fresh FM, for allegedly using abusive language against the Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni during a one hour talk-show which discussed political developments in the country.

Payira was arrested along with Okot Thomas Oloya a.k.a Toko, a student at Gulu University, Okyak Silva, a former Guild President of Gulu University and Agwen Samuel, the Local Councilor for Laroo Division in the Gulu Municipality. The trio had been hosting the current affairs programme which airs between 7pm and 8pm Monday to Friday.

A source told Journalists  that Payira was arrested from the Roma hotel by RDC Andrew Moses Awinyi and the District Police Commander for the Gulu District, Martin Okoyo. “They arrested Payira and put him in their car without informing him the reason for his arrest. He was taken to Gulu Police Station, where he recorded a statement before being locked up in the cells.”

It is alleged that during the talk-show, the trio criticised President Museveni for commissioning the Gulu-Atiak road that is reportedly not complete. The Regional Police Commander for the Northern Region Wilson Kwanya, accused the suspects of hatred against the president. “What caused the problem is abusive language against the Head of State. They have hatred against the president. They were abusing him on radio. So when we got information about that, we went and arrested them for questioning. We intend to take them to court.” Kwanya told local press.

The Jal Fresh Radio Director, Eng. David Mwaka told press that he had yet to listen to the recording in question, “The police are not saying much, no charges, nothing as of now. I have asked for the recording of the show. I am sure that as a radio station, we act under the law; even if it is to criticise the president, we do it positively. They should release them on bond or take them to court to be heard.”







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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