Kampala 07th/09/2010; Hajji Hassan Basajjabalaba of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has slapped and boxed a senior journalist Arthur Kintu at the on-going conference of the NRM special organs at Namboole stadium in Kira Town Council, Wakiso district.
Basajjabalaba is the party’s chairman of the entrepreneurs’ league which brings together businessmen allied to the NRM.
Kintu a photo journalist with the government owned news paper the New Vision is the second journalist to fall victim of Basajjabala’ brutality while on duty after Ivan Kalanzi a journalist with Radio Two (locally known as Akaboozi) who he roughed up two months ago at the Uganda Moslem Supreme Council headquarters at Old Kampala.
“We are concerned about the safety and security of journalists in Uganda ahead of the 2011 general elections. Cases committed against journalists are likely to double the figure registered last year. It is very absurd.” Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) Board Chairperson Robert Ssempala said.
HRNJ-Uganda has learnt that Basajjabalaba was angered by being photographed yet earlier on he was allegedly bribing voters ahead of their special organ party elections.
“I was photographing Basajjabala upon learning that he had been re- elected to the post. He angrily charged at me asking who had given me the permission to take his photos. He slapped me twice and boxed me in the face. He shattered my lips and started bleeding all over”, Kintu said.
Kintu says that, “As an accredited journalist i did not need Basajjabalaba’s permission to take pictures.”
Basajjabalaba is one of the many politicians and other leaders who have meted their anger and desperation onto journalists while protecting themselves from being exposed for abuse of offices.“Worst of all, such individuals use their economic or political muscle to intimidate the journalists’ respective media houses from pursuing the matter to courts of law,” Ssempala Added.
HRNJ-Uganda condemns in the strongest terms possible Basajjabalaba’s violent acts against journalists. We call on police to expeditiously investigate the case and take Basajjabalaba to court to answer his deeds, failure of which a private prosecution case will be lodged in court by HRNJ-Uganda.
Kintu has reported the matter to police and an inquiry file opened at Namboole Police post under number SD-Ref: 25/06/09/2010.
For more information contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road, Mengo- Bulange, Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Preparatory School
Tel: +256-414-667627 / +256-701-810079