There is no joke, there is no play in concern for the journalists in the Republic of Uganda. This can be said after the Uganda Communications Commission yesterday has suspended the Daily Monitor Online Newspaper after publishing a traditional healer story connected with the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on their pages in the end of January.
As that is happening, today, there was arrest of Next Media Limited, which are behind the NBS Television, who has arrested the wife Vivian Serwanjja of senior investigator Solomon Serwanjja, also arrested Kassim Mohammed, Rashid Kaweesa and Godfrey Badebye from the BBC TV. All of them gotten arrested today. As they were working on an investigation into government drugs and the black market trading in the Republic.
As that is happening, the journalists Raymond Wamala (Spyreports Uganda), Bob Atwiine (Spyreports Uganda), John Njoroge (CEO Magazine), Richard Wanambwa (Eagle Online) and Andrew Irumba Live (Spy Uganda) have been summoned by CID to be at the Police HQ tomorrow. Tomorrow they will be questioned and interviewed by the Police for certain stories they have posted or published. As they have been critical of the regime and what they are claiming. All of these has been there before, as the state tries to intimidate them from doing investigative reporting.
As, we see, it is a pattern, that repeats itself. Every-time someone digs deep or tries to uncover the truth. The state answer with intimidation, arbitrary arrests and even taking people hostage, like they have done in Vivian’s case. Today, Solomon has been hiding, therefore, the state took Vivian in instead. That is how they deem fair treatment of citizens and of the ones possibly exposing the oppression and unjust in society. While doing that, they themselves become criminals and outlaws. As they are just doing their job and trying to report on the events and acts that is done in the Republic.
The media is just telling what they are seeing, they are just exposing and revealing what information they are gathering and finding. They are not trying to make a situation look different than it is. They are trying to reports and explain the background and the context to all the acts that is done in the Republic. If the Republic and government has nothing to fear, then they should not fear journalists. But if the ills of society comes from the government, than the journalists will find it, as they dig into the realities and society they are apart.
Nevertheless, reporting and journalism isn’t a crime, they are just painting the canvass, they are not trigger the gun, but explaining why the person used the gun and the possible reasons for why the person used it in the first place. They are just painting the story, they are not creating the stories. That is reality, that is why these arrests, which isn’t new. The summoning of others, isn’t new either. In the middle of December 2018, the same people was summoned by the CID. So, they are doing it again, apparently.
The BBC has gotten arrested at Abim Hospital and in Kasese in recent years, as they were reporting both during the Campaign before the General Election. Also, as the Special Force Command was burning down the Palace in Kasese. I even remember the journalist outside of Besigye house in Kasangati, Wakiso, as Besigye was house-arrested. He was taken directly, as he was filming it live and was detained while he was on air. That was right after the General Election of 2016. These are just some quick examples, where the authorities has silenced the media. Because, they want to keep to people in the dark.
The Police continues to do this, the authorities wants this, but they are clearly sending the message, that they want to keep the public in the dark. Peace.
The whole case of Rebecca Kadaga and possible agreement she made with the traditional healer Damiano Akuze, which the healer has claimed the Speaker of the Parliament has breached. As this stories are happening. Since we know Kadaga has addressed this already through the Parliamentary Clerk on the 1st February 2019, as the Daily Monitor on January 31st 2019, entittled “Traditional healer sues Kadaga, seeks shs 200m for job charm”.
We know this is a a story that the Speaker of Parliament don’t want out. As the Daily Monitor and East African has already deleted on their online outlet. As I checked after the original story on their online newspaper. It wasn’t there anymore as the publication tries to take a soft move towards the authorities.
The good thing, is even as that happen. There are other outlets who has used Daily Monitor as sources in the aftermath. As the Pulslive.ug published a similar article on the 31st January 2019. Where Salim Segawa reported: “Akuze claims in his suit that Speaker Kadaga had promised to build him a house, buy him a construction truck, a plot of land and four cows — all totalling to about UGX200m. The ritualist alleges that he was only paid UGX1m for the ‘job well done’. Akuze said he will provide evidence during the trial to prove Kadaga breached the contract” (Salim Segawa – ‘Ritualist claiming to give Speaker Kadaga spiritual powers to become successful sues her over breach of contract’ 31.01.2019).
We know, that this has hurt Kadaga, as of today, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) sent a public letter to notify the Daily Monitor, that the UCC immediately suspend the Monitor Publication and does so within 5 days. As the UCC wants information and knowledge of things to secure that the Monitor Publication could lose their license, because of this article.
Therefore, this shows how the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the ones in the upper echelon can use their means to silence the media. Instead of trying to tell another story or even continue the case in the courts as it was reported from. Then this wouldn’t have aspired to this level.
Even if the allegations made by Mr. Akuze are right or wrong. The Speaker, the UCC and the Parliament could have acted differently to the matter. If they care about the freedom of speech and the liberty to publish content. However, they want the sunshine stories, but not when it rains.
Speaker Kadaga, if she has enforced this or used her means of power to do this. Then she is assaulting one of the biggest media houses and online news outlets of the Republic. She does it because she doesn’t know how to manoeuvrer after the alleged story leaked.
Because of these acts, however, it makes it more believable that she did. Since she is so volatile and attacks with the spears of government. First dismissing it through the Clerk of Parliament, than a week later by using the UCC. That enforces the media licenses and can make media houses stop publishing.
If there was no smoke, there wouldn’t be any fire. But by the looks of it. There is more to the story, than Kadaga wants the public to know. This has hurt her pride and her privilege. She cannot use a helicopter away from this. Peace.