Kampala, 18th/May/2012; the police have quizzed a Pearl FM radio journalist Nyombi Mahmoud for over 2 hours over a talk show Programme he hosted Saturday 05th/May discussing the level of Parliamentary democracy in Uganda as compared to other countries.
Nyombi moderates the weekly Programme ‘Mwoyo gwa ggwanga –The Patriot’ which airs Saturdays from 9:00AM to 11:00AM local time. The Programme in question was to feature the president’s Deputy Principal Private Secretary Kintu Nyago who never turned up for the show. It therefore was made a call-in Programme about the day’s topic of parliamentary democracy in Uganda. It centered on the revelation by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga that she was under pressure from some ruling NRM party members to gag opposition members of Parliament.
He was summoned and interrogated by the Assistant Inspector of Police Byamugisha Jackson the In-Charge of media crimes at the police station. Pearl FM is a private radio located in Kampala just a few meters away from the police station.
Byamugisha confessed that he was acting on orders from above. “This matter was brought to the attention of the CID Director by the Inspector General of Police himself, so it was referred to me by the CID headquarters. I listened to the Programme recording and found no substance for our investigations, but since am acting on orders from above, I sent the recording to another department to transcribe and translate the material there.”
Nyombi told HRNJ-Uganda that he was surprised by the summons; an action he believes was meant to sway him away from allowing alternative views and free debate from airing on the radio.
“This is an attempt to sway me away from allowing free debate on current topical issues. I believe I handle the Programmes very professionally, maybe that’s not what they want, but I will remain objective and give every one equal opportunity. The police officer seemed to be working under immense pressure from somewhere. ” he told HRNJ-Uganda at the police.
Byamugisha noted that Nyombi would be used as a witness in case of criminal charges against the callers. He was with lawyer Hussein Muwonge, Pearl’s Administrative Assistant Yassin Kironde, Chief News Editor Kisembo Abubaker and Programmes Director Uthman Menya among others. Others present were the HRNJ-Uganda Programme Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala and lawyer Catherine Anite.
Nyombi recorded a statement and was released without a charge.
“This is a scheme by the government to use the police to silence all free media and debate on matters of national importance. All the recent human rights status reports have clearly shown that the police have become the government’s coercive arm against all critical media. Since Byamugisha stated that he did not find any matter to warrant police investigations, they should not influence Nyombi to be a witness in case of any criminal charges. We commend Pearl FM and other journalists for standing in solidarity against such police schemes.” said the HRNJ-Uganda Programme Coordinator, Wokulira Ssebaggala
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road Mengo Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Pre. School
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627