HRN-Uganda alert, police director assaults journalist covering elections

Luwero, 21st/May/2014; A Uganda Radio Network (URN) journalist, Brian Luwaga was on 20th/May/2014, assaulted by the Uganda Police Force Director of Operations, Grace Turyagumanawe as he covered the by-elections for Luweero district women parliamentary representative.

Brian Luwaga told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that Turyagumanawe kicked and pushed him as he moved to interview the area police spokesperson for Savanah, Lameck Kigozi, a claim that Turyagumanawe dismisses.

Turyagumanwe was assigned to oversee the campaigns and elections until the voting day on 22nd /May/2014, after the Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura suspended the area Regional Police Commander, Richard Mivule for violently dispersing Brenda Nabukenya’s supporters who were celebrating her nomination.

“I was covering Nabukeera’s last political rally which turned chaotic when police fired teargas to disperse her rally. I approached the regional spokesperson, Lameck Kigozi for a comment as the situation calmed down. When Turyagumanawe came, he questioned why I was there and what I wanted as he reached out for my camera which I held onto. He pushed me away and kicked me as I ran away. We were at Kasana playground, Luweero Town Council, Luweero district.” Luwaga told HRNJ-Uganda

When HRNJ-Uganda contacted Turyagumanawe, he vehemently denied assaulting the journalist. “Am not aware of that; that claim is wrong. I didn’t. Are journalists bought to tarnish me? I am going to face it rough because of such a claim. Let him report it to police such that it can be documented.” When contacted Lameck Kigozi defended Turyagumanawe over the assault, “He didn’t beat him, he just pushed him. He told him to come back later.”

“Journalists should not be intimidated while doing their work most especially during the coverage of elections, which are a national issue and of public interest. We implore the police to ensure the safety of journalists at all times and to desist from intimidating them. The police leadership should investigate the conduct of Turyagumanawe.” said the National Coordinator of HRNJ-Uganda, Robert Ssempala.

For More Information Contact;
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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.