Saturday, May 29, 2010

HRNJ-Uganda want Kakooza Mutale Punished for torturing a journalist

By HRNJ-News Team
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) condemns in the strongest term possible the arrest and torture of the Ggwanga New Paper editor Moses Kasibante.

Mr. Kasibante was arrested and tortured on 25th/May/2010 by Kalangala Action Plan Operatives in a numberless vehicle during the Mukono North by-election while at district headquarter polling station. The operatives confiscated his identity card and other valuable items.

“I was arrested by plain clothed gun-wielding men who forced me into a numberless Toyota Prado which whisked me away. After few minutes of my arrest, I found myself detained in a safe house in Mukono with a yellow gate where I spotted a yellow bus which resembled the one commonly used by Kalangala Action Plan” Kasibante said. While in detention he was ill-treated and sustained serious injuries.

After several hours of cruelty and degrading treatment, they started interrogating him until a phone call suspected to have directed operatives otherwise. These acts of torture are outlawed by the constitution and international instruments Uganda is a party and meant to scare away journalists from reporting on critical matters ahead of 2011 general election HRNJ-Uganda Programmes Coordinator G.W. Ssebaggala said.

Article 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda states that; No person shall be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and no one is supposed to subject any body to acts of torture.

Kasibante was transferred in his own vehicle this time and dumped at Mukono police station where he was charged with election violence under case reference number GEF/05/10 and recorded a statement. He was released on police bond.

In light of the foregoing it is our firmly held and treasured opinion that the acts of torture, inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment were and very much in contravention of our rights and freedoms as set out in Chapter four of the constitution and do state further that the said torture acts are demonstrably unjustifiable in a free and democratic society.

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda therefore calls upon the Coordinator of intelligence services Gen. David Tinyefunza to investigate the para-military leader Kakooza Mutale and his subordinate operatives and be punished for torturing once found guilt.

That security agencies should respect the freedom of the press and other human rights as provided in the constitution and international instruments ratified by the government.

That parliament speed up the passing of the Torture bill whose overall objective is to punish and hold errant operatives, officers and perpetrators of torture liable for cases committed.

For More Information Contact;

Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Plot 16 Clement Hill Road – Nakasero
P.O.Box. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala – Uganda
Tel: +256-414-667627 / +256-701-810079
Or visit our website:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Security operative arrests journalist over photos

Kampala, 19th/May/2010: Ggwanga news paper photo journalist Alex Lubwama has been arrested by an operative allegedly attached to state house over taking his photograph.

Mr. Lubwama who covered a court case on 17th/May/2010 involving four conmen who defrauded more than 80 million shillings from hardware suppliers was arrested outside Kampala City Hall court on his way to office and dragged to Central Police Station (CPS) Kampala.

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) has established the names of the operative as Bashir Okwir who resides at Bugolobi Flats, a Kampala Suburb. He’s part of the alleged group of conmen who was earlier granted bail

Lubwama alleges that his tools of trade were confiscated by the operative who did not introduce himself neither giving reasons for the arrest but grabbed him.

“I was kept at CPS for hours without a single charge and later released as a result of an intervention from my colleagues” Lubwama said.

For More Information Contact:

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Plot 16 Clement Hill Road Nakasero
P.O.Box 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-667627 / +256-701-810079
Or visit our Website:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) case hearing for 8th/July/2010

By HRNJ-Uganda News Team
Court has fixed July 8th/2010 to start hearing the Central Broadcasting Service (CBSfm) failure government to produce settlement report.

This follows the Attorney General (AG) chambers failure to meet today’s deadline to show to court the commitment to settle the case out of court.

Uganda has lately joined few states on the globe that explore possibilities of mediation to settle civil cases outside court before cases of that nature are heard but the process seem to be not adhered to by the state.

Over 102 CBSfm employees dragged Broadcasting Council to court challenging the closure of the radio arguing that the closure was unlawful and purported to revoke its license. They further contest council powers used to execute the closure contrary to the Electronic Media Act or any other applicable laws.

High Court Judge Vincent Zehurikize while meeting both parties this morning expressed concern over the mediation processes are being abused. “What I have found out is that there are invisible litigants who are frustrating the process but I will hear this case on July 8th/2010” Justice Zehurikize said. If the attorney general chambers fails to avail settlement report he will go ahead to schedule and hear the case.

Employees led by Florence Luwedde argue that the forceful and alleged confiscation of CBS assets on 10th September 2009 was contrary to Electronic Media Act where Broadcasting Council has no legal right to withdraw license. They are seeking compensation in damages and lose of over 8 billion shillings.

Senior state attorney Patricia Mutetsi reported to court that effort to set-up a team comprising of officials from Broadcasting Council, ICT Ministry and Uganda Communication Commission hasn’t been realized before talks with CBSfm.

Broadcasting Council arbitrarily and excessively switched off five radio stations including CBSfm in the aftermath of September 10th, 11th and 12th riots. Three stations have since been re-opened.

Fore information Contact

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Plot 16 Clement Hill Road Nakasero
P.O.Box. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala – Uganda
Tel: +256-414-667627 / +256-701-810079
Visit our Website:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Consulate decline to meet rights body over exiled journalist

Kampala -14th/May/2010; Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is dismayed with the concealing behavior of the Eritrean Consulate to Uganda his excellence Issaias over the plight of the Eritrean exiled journalist Yonas Embye. Mr. Embye who fled
Eritrea to Uganda following the government’s continuous clamp down on private media, allegedly received threats from H.E Issaias. “While on streets of Kampala, Mr. Issaias raised his head from the window of car and threatened with kidnap and to deport me back to Eritrea within 24 hours” Mr. Embye reported.

Upon receiving the reports, efforts have been made by HRNJ-Uganda to meet the consulate but audience has been denied. “Such acts violate UN refugee treaty and diplomatic rules” HRNJ-Programmes Coordinator G.W. Ssebaggala said. The secretary to the consulate M/s Adriam has delayed the appointment from 07th/May/2010 when the incident was reported until today 14th/May/2010 when she informed HRNJ-Uganda office that the consulate deals only with public service not everyone which is outrageous.

We are concerned about the status of Mr. Embye who has taken upon himself to hide as a precaution measure to save his life from the alleged threats despite his harsh conditions

HRNJ-Uganda calls upon the government of Eritrea to investigate the alleged conduct of Mr. Issaias and bring him to order

For More information Contact;

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Plot 16 Clement Hill Road – Nakasero
P.O.Box 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-667627 / +256-701-810079
Or visit our Website:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

City mayor face court over wetland plot

By Venex Watebawa

About 75 plots have been leased out to investors along the Mpanga close in Bugolobi to develop a fragile wetland along the Nakivubo channel.

The plots are part of the wetland which National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is threatening to take Kampala Mayor Ntege Ssebaggala to court if he does not get off he wetland in Bugolobi on which he is planting trees.

Thi is the wetland under contest between NEMA and Kampala city mayor. Counter accusation between NEMA Executive Director Dr. Aryamanya Mugisha and Kampala Mayor Hajji Nasser Ntege Ssebaggala may end them in court.

However, the circumstances surrounding the wetland are far beyond what NEMA was accusing the mayor.

Land titles displayed by Kampala mayor to our team indicate that this particular wetland is already leased out for development by the Uganda Land Commission and has given out titles to Nextel Limited a company owned by the house of DAWUDA.

The land titles signed by Mayanja Nkangi the chairman of Uganda Land Commission leased out 5 plots to Nextel Limited at a tune of 380 million shillings for a period of 99 years.

The minister for lands was at the site declined to comment over awarding land titles in a wetland saying he would first cross check if the titles were genuine.

According to Kampala mayor Ntege Ssebaggala, he says that there is no plot that can be gazetted in a wetland with out the consent of NEMA accusing them of double standards.

About 75 titles are said to have been awarded to different investors including the wetland owned by the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation. But NEMA director insist that Mayor Ssebaggala has a hidden agenda and he is planting trees in a disguise of reclaiming the wetland and will in turn claim ownership.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Court fixed June 2nd to decide Sedition case trial against journalist

By HRNJ-Uganda News Team

Buganda Road Court has fixed June 2nd to determine whether to stay a sedition case against former Radio One presenter Kalundi Robert Sserumaga.

Serumaga, who was abducted on 11th/September/2010 from WBS TV entrance after a “Kibazo on Friday” talk show by unidentified armed men was whisked away in a car boot to a safe house in Kireka, a Kampala suburb owned by Rapid Response Unit) police where he was tortured for more than 12 hours.

Serumaga who’s the eighth journalist facing sedition charges by last year was later dumped at Central Police Station before being taken to Buganda Road Court where he was accused of making seditious statements while on the television show which allegedly brought into hatred or contempt or to incite disaffection against the person of the president.

In 2005, Andrew Mwenda and East African Media Institution petitioned the constitutional court challenging the law whose ruling has not been delivered staying all pending sedition cases.

Through his lawyer F.K. Mpanga Serumaga asked court to stay the proceedings pending constitutional court ruling on the sedition petition.

Buganda Road Court Grade One magistrate Matega Francis fixed 2nd/June/2010 to deliver his ruling on whether the case should be put on hold.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vice President attacks media over reports

By HRNJ-Uganda News team.

The Ugadan Vice President, Prof. Gilbert Baalibaseka Bukenya has publicly attacked the media over exposinsing his alleged wrong deeds in preparation for the hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (GHOGM) which took place in 2007 in Uganda.
Prof. Bukenya who chaired the cabinet sub committee is accused of flouting public procurement regulations when he authorised Shs. 13.9 billion to construct Munyonyo Commonwealth resort, Shs. 9 billion to procure BMW cars and he used CHOGM funds to grade a road to his hotel in Garuga, a Kampala surbub.
Prof. Bukenya who has been shielded by the Attorney General to keep away from appearing before Parliamentary Public Accounts committee to account for his actions, was forced by his boss (President Museveni) to appear before MPs.
While appearing before MPs on 03rd/05/2010, Bukenya attacked the media whom he described as uneducated and uninformed. "They have been writing ill of me. News papers have accused of hiding" Prof. Bukenya said. Tomorrow they will write: Bukenya was grilled. Can you show me where I have been grilled. Bukenya asked.
MPs warned Bukenya against using unparliamentary language.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Uganda media under attack by law of rule regime

The world press Freedom Day in Uganda has been marked when the media is being gagged, media houses shuttered down, journalists harrassed by police, judicial sanctions employed against journalists and direct attacks from all corners of the society inluding Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) among others.

The day has come when one journalist on remand on charges of treason, more than 30 journalists are in court on flimsy charges and more than ten have pending charges at the Media Offences Department established by Uganda Police Force to monitor media on daily basis and prefer charges against journalists. "Such attacks and violations indicate that journalists and the media are destined for tougher times ahead of 2011 general elections" Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) programmes Coordinator G.W.Ssebaggala said. Because impunity is on rampant, we call upon journalists to report abuses committed against them in order individual perpetrators be held accountable for their actions before courts of law.

In the meantime, Information and guidance minister Kabakumba Matsiko insists that the media in Uganda can not regulate its self. Speaking at the conference to mark the 2010 World Press Freedom Day at Golf Course hotel Matsiko said there's evidence that some media houses would operate in a way that would be a recipe for incitement, chaos, anarchy and a breeding ground for genocide. Last year five private owned radio stations were closed on allegations that they incited violence and 18 journalists were sacked under duress.

Activities to mark the day included a procession by media organisations code named Article 29 coalition. It ended with a particular meeting at the Railway ground on Jinja road among others