Police spokesperson obstructs journalists from covering arrest of opposition leader
A senior Ugandan Police Force, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Patrick Onyango, manhandled a journalist and blocked him from capturing a video footage of the arrest of Uganda’s opposition leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye at the 51st National Independence celebrations, at Rukungiri District stadium, in Rukungiri, Western Uganda.
Onyango, the Deputy Police spokesperson grabbed the hands of Ggaliwango, a journalist with the Nation Media Group owned NTV as the police arrested and whisked away Besigye, along with the Capital City’ Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and a Kawempe Division Mayor Mubarak Munyagwa Sserunga who had walked out of the stadium from where President Yoweri Museveni was due to address the celebrants. This was the first time Besigye was attending such celebrations since he fell out with Museveni in the late 90s.
Ggaliwango told HRNJ-Uganda that Onyango personally got hold of him and blocked him from getting the footage. “When Dr. Besigye walked out of the stadium, he was surrounded by the police, as I tried to capture the incident; Patrick onyango grabbed my hands as he ordered me not to take anything. I saw the trio being pushed into the waiting police van, but I could not capture the footage. It took about three minutes. When the van was driving them away, he left, and I only managed to capture the fleet of vehicles as they sped off. I did not fight; I only told him that he had succeeded in blocking me. I was the only journalist outside of the stadium. So the incident was not captured by anyone else.” Said Ggaliwango
When contacted by HRNJ-Uganda, Onyango could not comment, he only said he was in a bank, “Am in a bank” then he hanged up. The police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba said she was not aware of the matter, “Can you report it to the Professional Standards Unit (PSU), because I wasn’t briefed and am not aware of it.” She said.
“The police have ranked worst violators of media rights and freedoms for the last three years, but no action has been taken against the perpetrators, even the cases that were filed at the Professional Standards Unit have never been conclusively investigated. The Inspector General of Police must institute investigations into this matter of gross misconduct by such a high ranking police officer.” Said HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala
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