Kasese, 22nd/November/2019; Security operatives on November 20, 2019, stormed and ransacked the office of opposition political party the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in Kasese District, South Western Uganda confiscating journalists’ gadgets and taking with them documents from the office.
The confiscated items include two smartphones belonging to Eric Mwesigye and his trainee a one Amos, a camera memory card and two other phones belonging to the FDC Chairperson Kasese District, Saul Matte.
According to Eric Mwesigye, he was interviewing Mr. Matte Saul about the status of the ongoing campaign by the FDC party to petition the International Criminal Court (ICC) when over ten (10) plain-clothed security operatives stormed the office, took away phones and forcefully removed the memory card from the camera which was on the tripod stand being used for recording the interview.
“I cannot tell the security agency to which those people are attached but the speed and tenacity with which they removed my card from the camera and the ransacking of the office in broad daylight shows that these were not ordinary street goons”, said Mwesigye when contacted by HRNJ-Uganda.
Mwesigye says he reached out to the Rwenzori East Police Spokesperson Twesigye Vincent about the incident but was advised to record a statement at police. He adds that he reported to the District Internal Security Officer, Lt Johnson Tashoba who promised to investigate the matter.
However speaking to HRNJ-Uganda on phone, the Rwenzori East Police Spokesperson Twesigye Vincent denied having knowledge of the alleged incident and could not say anything about it.
Efforts to speak to Mr. Matte proved futile as his phones were confiscated by the security operatives.
This incident comes on the heels of other similar happenings involving different journalists in Kasese in the month of September 2019. Two journalists, Mr. Joel Kaguta, a Daily Monitor correspondent, and Mr. Dennis Mumbere, working with Messiah Radio, were arrested separately on 24th and 26th September respectively for allegedly covering Opposition party activities.
Mr. Gilbert Muhanguzi, also an employee of Messiah Radio was on September 26th arrested at the magistrate’s court while filming his colleague, Mr. Robert Kule, a reporter with Bukedde TV, who was appearing before Rukooki Chief Magistrate’s Court.