13th November 2020; Plain clothed men arrested Tony Lule, a journalist attached to Bukedde TV on 12th November 2020 at about 6 pm local time at the Vision Group offices in Kampala. It is alleged that Lule attacked the first son, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba on his Facebook account. However, his colleagues say the Facebook page is managed by a different person who shares the same name with him, calling the arrest a mistaken identity.
Mubuke Godfrey, a producer with Bukedde Television who has been closely following up the matter told HRNJ-Uganda that they went to the Counter-Terrorism Unit in Bukoto but were denied access to the victim, “We are coming from the establishment that is handling the case. Unfortunately, we were not able to see him. We were told that we can only see him on Monday.” Mubuke told HRNJ-Uganda during an interview.
He added that Lule is detained at the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in Kireka, a place used to detain hardcore criminals. He insists that the said Facebook account is managed by a different person who shares the same name with their colleague. HRNJ-Uganda is however following up on this matter.
Elsewhere, on the same day, a media branded car that was carrying the NBS TV crew covering the campaign trail of presidential aspirant Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine who is contesting on the National Unity Platform (NUP) party was vandalized by alleged goons. According to Daniel Lutaaya while appearing on the ‘NBS Media Round Table’ Friday morning, narrated that as the NBS TV crew trailing Bobi Wine, they encountered a riot in the making and some youths had put blockades on the road. They successfully passed the first road block and were attacked as they approached the second one. They were hit with stones hence damaging the car glasses. One of their bags containing a laptop, phones and a charger was taken by the attackers.
Kitimbo Thomas who was injured during the scuffle told HRNJ-Uganda in an interview that he was feeling a lot of headache. He said he had some residues of glasses on the left hand and the head, so he was traveling back to Kampala for specialized treatment.
On the second day of the presidential nominations on 2nd Nov 2020, security forces led by the police and the army were seen hauling teargas canister at well-branded media vehicles that were reporting the arrest and carrying away the Bobi Wine shortly after his nominations at Kyambogo University. There was no reason given for targeting media vans during the fracas, yet the media is mandated to cover all of the eleven duly nominated presidential candidates.
“We condemn the conduct of the youths in Lira who attacked the journalists. We certainly know this is a difficult time for the media in Uganda due to the political face-offs associated with campaigns and elections in Uganda. We appeal to the media to be resilient and also implore police in Lira to expeditiously investigate this matter such that the culprits are brought to book. We also appeal to SIU to release Tony Lule as they continue conducting their investigations. Police should desist from arresting and detention of journalists before thorough investigations have been conducted, as such has a negative effect on press freedom.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda Executive Director Robert Ssempala.