Police has arrested five Radio Simba journalists over alleged sectarianism

Kampala, 24th July, 2020; Police in Bukoto, Kampala this morning stormed Radio Simba in Bukoto and arrested five of its staff including four presenters and a news reporter over an alleged offense of sectarianism. 

The Radio Simba Chief News Editor, Emmanuel Okello told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda that they were treated to shock in the morning when about twenty plain-clothed armed men traveling in four private vehicles stormed the station and arrested the staff, without any prior notice.

Those arrested include Julius Serwanja aka Kiddomole, Mbabaali Mariseeri, Gold Kimatono aka Opeto, Sabakaaki Simon Peter -all of whom are presenters in the morning show and a news reporter James Kamali who was recording the arrest.

Those arrested include Julius Serwanja aka Kiddomole, Mbabaali Mariseeri, Gold Kimatono aka Opeto, Sabakaaki Simon Peter -all of whom are presenters in the morning show and a news reporter James Kamali who was recording the arrest.

They were first taken to the Police Professional Standards Unit at Naguru, but later taken to the Criminal Investigations Directorate at Kibuli from where the four presenters recorded statements.  While Kamali was released at PSU, it’s not clear if his recorded material was deleted as of a condition for the release.

Police accuse the four of promoting sectarianism when they released a comedy video clip in which students were urged to learn the top leaders in key government positions as hailing from the same region in Western Uganda. The comedians named several positions and names of the leaders occupying them.

The presenters have been taken to their respective homes  to conduct a search. It is not clear what the police are looking for in their homes.
The arrest comes barely two days after security operatives arrested a local music artist, Gerald Kiweewa over a song reportedly implicating a female Member of Parliament for being the cause of the arrest and torture of a People Power leader and Member of Parliament, Francis Zzaake. He was arrested from his home in Maganjo, his house was also searched.

HRNJ-Uganda couldn’t easily establish if the suspects would be released on bond or kept in custody all through the weekend.
Since musician Robert Kyagulanyi joined politics when he became the Kyaddondo North Member of Parliament and consequently forming an opposition pressure group, the People Power, the government has introduced stringent regulations to artists in Uganda.


“We call upon the police not to use the fact that many artists have taken to active politics, to criminalise freedom of expression through art, which is provided for under Art. 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and other international instruments to which Uganda is a party” said HRNJ-Uganda Executive Director, Robert Ssempala

HRNJ-UG Admin

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.

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