Thursday, January 13, 2011

HRNJ-Uganda Alert: Managing Editor and a director detained over President Museveni’s cartoon.

13th/Jan/2011; The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Editor of the Summit Business Review magazine, Mustapha Mugisa was arrested by security operatives and detained at police over running a cartoon of President Museveni on his magazine cover.

The Summit Business Review magazine Vol.02, issue 10, of October 2010 ran a cartoon of the president while cutting a cake to mark 48 years of

Uganda’s independence. The magazine examined Museveni’s outstanding challenges under his 24years in power. They included; roads, health, economy, security, transparency, development and education.

It also paid special attention to the forthcoming general elections between February and March this year, and what was next for the country after Museveni’s 24 years in power out of the total 48 that Uganda has been independent. It was summarized in the headline, ‘Uganda at 48. Museveni at 24. Where next?’

On 11th/January/2011, at around 11:30am, 10 security operatives in civilian clothes, stormed the magazine offices in Kamwokya- a suburb of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, armed with copies of the magazine and asked to know whether he was Mugisa the editor of the magazine.

“Upon introducing myself as the editor/CEO of the magazine, they told me to record a statement there and then over Museveni’s cartoon, which I did for about 40minutes. After which, they demanded that follow them to the Central Police Station (CPS) in Kampala to face their face their boss”.

Mugisa told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda).
When he reached at CPS, Mugisa was detained in a police cell without a charge and his laptop confiscated. The Co-director of the Magazine, Dr Samuel Ssejjaaka was subsequently arrested when he went to CPS to rescue his colleague.

The dual was detained for over four hours and later released on a police bond which did not mention any charges preferred against them.

Sources told HRNJ-Uganda that the dual’s file has been forwarded to directorate of Criminal Investigation Department based at Kibuli and they are required to appear before political offences desk today 13th/Jan/2011

Art. 29(a) states that, “Every person shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the press and the media”

HRNJ-Uganda believes that using a cartoon is one form of expression which is acceptable in any democratic state and recognized by international treaties to which Uganda is a party and the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda therefore, nobody should be punished for expressing his or herself.

“It is an abuse to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and the media for security to detain people at their own discretion basing on this. This is persecution that should not go unpunished and the police must explain this act urgently.” Demand by HRNJ-Uganda Board Chairperson, Robert Ssempala

HRNJ-Uganda calls on the Office the United Nations Special Rapporteur, development partners as well as others bodies to bring the government of Uganda to order and remind it about its responsibility of protecting rights and freedoms.

For More Information Contact;

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road at Mengo-Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Preparatory School
P.O.Box.71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-272934 /+256-414-667627
Toll Free Helpline; 0800144155
Visit our website: to access the full report.

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