Police and city enforcement officers rough up, detain journalist

Wakiso, 07th /November/2012; Ssematimba Bwejiire, a Radio Simba journalist was yesterday beaten by policemen and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) law enforcement officers for “disorganizing” their work as he attempted to record them impounding a commuter taxi that had allegedly defaulted KCCA monthly dues at Mulusanja, a Kampala suburb. The journalist, who sustained body injuries and his property stolen, was thrown on a KCCA patrol pick-up and driven to Kanyanya police station as law enforcement officers roughly stamped their feet on him.

“Over 20 officers from police and KCCA pounced on me and started beating me. They kicked, boxed and slapped me. They accused me of disorganizing their work. They pulled my shirt and tore it. I fell down as I pleaded with them that I was a journalist. They threw me on one of their patrol pick-ups, kept stepping on me and took me to Kanyanya police station where I was detained. I feel a lot of pain on the head and chest. I lost my audio recorder and money.” Ssematimba told HRNJ-Uganda today.

He was released on the intervention of the Resident City Commissioner for Kampala, Samuel Mpimbaza Hashaka who accused police and KCCA officers of “unprofessional” conduct referring to the incident as “unfortunate”.

“I will make sure that all the culprits are arrested.” Hashaka told HRNJ-U today.
The Officer in Charge, Kanyanya police station, Mathias Turyasingura, described Ssematimba as a victim of circumstances and advised him to open up a case. “The file is being handled but no arrests have been made so far”. Turyasingura told HRNJ-U.


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.