Police’s Failure to Arrest City Mayor over Journalist Assault

Kampala, 11th September 2012; Human Rights Network for journalists-Uganda is disappointed by the police’s failure to arrest the City Mayor Godfrey Nyakaana Amooti to appear in court for assaulting a journalist.On 13th July 2012, Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Mary Eleanor Khainza issued an arrest warrant against Nyakaana after he failed to honor criminal summons issued against him in June this year. The State Prosecutor Nelly Asiku asked the court to order for Nyakaana’s arrest.

The warrant of arrest was presented to the police’s Deputy CID Commander Mr. Walimbwa to execute the arrest but he has since failed to do so. Another warrant of arrest was issued on 27th July 2012 by the same court and handed over to one Musa a police officer attached to Central Police Station but was similarly never put into effect.
On 30th August, Court could not proceed as Nyakaana had not yet been arrested. The case was further adjourned to 05th October 2012 and the warrant of arrest extended to the same date. It is worthy to note that this case has failed to take off and has been repeatedly adjourned due to police’s failure to arrest Nyakaana.

Prosecution alleges that on February, 23 2011 during local council general elections for Kampala Lord Mayor Ship, Nyakaana severely beat up Arinaitwe George Fidel a Red Pepper journalist and also robbed him of his Sony camera worth 400,000shs. In a bid to destroy the photos that Arinaitwe had taken, Nyakaana is alleged to have grabbed the camera from him and destroyed its memory card before beating him several times. Although Nyakaana was not one of the candidates in the elections, he was displeased by Arinaitwe who took photos of the fracas that broke out after people started accusing him of vote stuffing at the Railway ground polling station.

At the time of the attack, Nyakaana was overseeing the votes of the ruling party’s (NRM) candidate Peter Sematimba. The elections were later cancelled by the Electoral Commission upon discovering that they were marred by wide spread irregularities throughout the district. They were later re-organized and Ssematimba lost to the opposition’s Erias Lukwago who is the current Lord Mayor of the city authority.
“HRNJ-Uganda is greatly concerned by police’s failure to arrest the suspect, yet he sits at the City Division offices which are within the vicinity of CPS offices. Despite several appeals to the force by HRNJ-Uganda, the police have been reluctant to effect the arrest. This act has affected the hearing of this case, thereby denying the journalist justice. We therefore once again appeal to the police to arrest Nyakaana and present him to court to plead to the charges,” said HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala.

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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