HRNJ-Uganda alert, legislator drags journalist to police over a bribery story

Kampala, 27th/August/2014; a Parliamentary reporter for Voice of Lango radio in Northern Uganda and Chimps Reports, an online publication, Dickens Okello has been quizzed by the police for about an hour over an alleged defamation case filed by the Aruu County Member of Parliament, Odonga Otto arising from a Facebook post.

On August 11th,2014, Dickens posted on his facebook page what Otto says implicated him as a beneficiary of an alleged financial help extended by the president to Members of Parliament to help them settle their outstanding debts. “2 weeks ago, a friend notified me that my bro Odonga Otto was seen twice in room 13 Boman house (MP Kiwanda’s office) together with Eastern Youth MP Peter Ogwang. I rushed there and found the trio. When it happened three times I said to myself that my bro was defecting to NRM (Ruling party) but my simple follow up realized nothing near to that. Three more opposition members visited the same office according to my sources. Days later, Wafula Oguttu (Leader of Opposition) addressed the press saying 18 of his members are alleged to have picked some monies. Is room 13 the magic code???…” read the post.

In response, Otto described the post as foolish. “Foolish comment, how I wish u knew what am going thru financially Dickens Okello Honetstraw. I will request sergeant at arms and commission to get you out of Parliament fake journalist. And this time I will sue for defamation you and all those on fb being casual with people’s life. One week, expect court papers” read the Member of Parliament’s response.

Dickens this afternoon recorded a statement before Micheal Makhoha, the OC CID Parliament, where he denied the allegations. Makhoha told HRNJ-Uganda that investigations are still ongoing.
Dickens told HRNJ-Uganda that Otto threatened him with violence. In 2012, Otto was reported to have drawn his gun at Stanley Ndawula, a Red Pepper journalist over what he termed as a controversial story against him.
We implore the Speaker of Parliam
ent and the Police to ensure and guarantee the safety and security of journalists operating within the precincts of the August House, said Robert Ssempala, the National Coordinator, HRNJ-Uganda.

For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
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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.