Opinion: UPDF says journalist shouldn’t report on the “wrong side”

But it takes two to tangle. If we all care to stick to professionalism, these unnecessary things will be minimized. You can’t have a State that is a threat to its citizens, and our position is clear. The State is there to mitigate internal and external threats. It gets hard when these are being implemented. If you mingle with a very volatile situation, it may be difficult to isolate the actors who are on the wrong side. Once you are a journalist, prove to us that you are exercising journalism. Professionalism will help all of us” – Chief Political Commissar UPDF, Henry Matsiko (28.12.2020).

What is a spectacle after yesterday that the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) or the National Army are now telling journalists and the media how to do their work. The ones that is supposed to defend them. Just like the President they are “enlightening” the crowds how they are supposed to work.

Matsiko is following the trend of former IGP Kale Kayihura who also had the skills to tell how others should operate or do their work. Kayihura could tell both journalists and opposition politicians how to work. Now he does the same.

However, Matsiko says its harder to know who is on the wrong side. We all know that is coded for “opposition”. To say anything else… is just rubbish. They are telling the journalists to be professional, while their operatives and soldiers are shooting bullets into crowds and hitting journalists in the head. That is really serious…

If the UPDF is afraid of threats. Shouldn’t they get help to investigate and look into the issues before they go into a situation like a warzone. When the Opposition have notified and sent letters to the authorities telling where they are campaigning and planning to go. So, it is not like the army doesn’t know where the NUP or FDC was planning to go. They have to get verified and allowed to continuing their campaigning in the Election Road Map.

The state knows this and the Army knows this. Especially a brother like Henry who happens to be the Chief Political Commissar. That man should know this and he knows perfectly well that there are journalists following and covering the convoys of the opposition. That was something Kayihura complained about too. So, the state knows this … and he cannot use professionalism. When the army is acting unprofessional and causing fatalities to unarmed civilians during campaign seasons.

That is what is infuriating here. If the soldiers, the authorities was professional. They wouldn’t kill or injure innocent civilians carrying around cameras and voice recorders. No, they would ensure their safety. Also, not hit people in the head as they are covering Bobi Wine’s campaign. Alas, that is too much to ask these days. It is the victims fault like always in the Republic. Victims are the ones to blame and not the trigger happy soldiers… Because, if these trigger happy folks was professional. Maybe they would have secured the territory and not gone after journalists. Peace.

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