Kampala, 01st/October/2012; a journalist working with the Vision Group has been injured on the head and left bleeding on his right eye while covering a news story in the capital Kampala.
Kizza Martin, a journalist with the government owned Bukedde Television was hit by a policeman on the bled profusely. This happened while the police was dispersing supporters of the City’s Lord Mayor, Ssalongo Elias Lukwago who together with the city councilors were protesting the reported ruthlessness of the Kampala Capital City Authority’s Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi. The police fired teargas and used baton to disperse the opposition supporters.
Kizza told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that he was recording a scuffle involving the police and the Rubaga North Member of Parliament Moses Kasibante who was being denied access to the city center through Arua Park.
“This particular policeman first tried to hit my colleague Nkalubo but missed him narrowly at Arua Park. I was capturing the incident of the police blocking Kasibante from accessing the place, when something hit me on the head; it was an elbow by the policeman who was using a baton to chase away people. I started bleeding on my right eye. A civilian helped to rush me to a nearby clinic from where I received first aid treatment. Am feeling severe headache and pain around the eye” Kizza told HRNJ-Uganda.
Efforts to talk to the police leadership were futile as their official cell phones went unanswered.
The police force banned holding public rallies, processions and demonstrations until after the country’s Golden Jubilee celebrations which are due in a week’s time on 9th October, citing security reasons. The opposition and human rights activists however denounced the ban as illegal.
They argued the police’s directive is out of the legal framework governing the country as there are no laws backing up such a ban. The move by government curtails the fundamental human rights and democratic space in the country.
“The police force has of late turned its wrath to journalists who cover opposition related activities, yet the police leadership has not prevailed over these errant officers. The police should ensure the safety of journalists at all times rather targeting them because of the nature of their work. Journalists play an important role of informing the public and as such we challenge the police to take action against the officers who have been implicated in over 50% of attacks against frontline journalists.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala