Wednesday, May 14, 2014

HRNJ-Uganda alert, Legislator accused of assaulting a journalist, faces arrest

Bushenyi, 14th/May/2014; the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality in Western Uganda, Odo Tayebwa faces arrest for allegedly storming the  studios of Bushenyi FM (BFM) and assaulting a journalist, Moses Byendwa while he hosted a radio program.

Byendwa aka Shaka Bitama who presents a program ‘Mutabarukye’ meaning ‘Welcome back from work’ which runs daily from 07pm-10pm local time, told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda that on 08th/May/2014, at about 09:45pm, the MP stormed the studios and assaulted him over reviewing a story carried in the State-owned New Vision about the MP’s stand on releasing agricultural funds under the Presidential Initiative on Banana Industrial Project.

“He forced his way into the studios. He found me in a commercial break and he slapped me in the face while shouting at me amidst scolding me as to why I had not first consulted him before reviewing the newspaper story. He kept bragging that the radio station was in his constituency. I was rescued by my workmates who made him retreat to the reception and waited for me to come out, but I used another exit to escape. I was bruised on my face and developed chest pain due to a hard punch.” Byendwa told HRNJ-Uganda. His account was collaborated by one of his workmates who declined to be named.

The journlaist opened up a case file over criminal trespass and assault at Bushenyi police station. The police are yet to arrest Tayebwa. “We have that case and we are almost done with the inquiries. We are going to summon him through the Speaker of Parliament to answer to the charges, if he does not turn up, we will arrest him and charge him.” The Officer-In-Charge of Crime Investigations, Peter Tindyebwa told HRNJ-Uganda.

The area journalists under the Bushenyi Journalists and Media Association led by Pison Mugizi held a peaceful demonstration in Bushenyi town castigating the MP’s actions and demanded for a public apology from him. Teyebwa was quoted in the media denying the allegations.

“It is unfortunate that a Member of Parliament, who is supposed to be a pillar of honor, is accused of such an embarrassing act, despite the existence of civil avenues to resolve any dissatisfaction he might have had. We implore the police to investigate this matter and put it to a logical conclusion to deter other persons in authority from misusing their ‘power”, said Robert Ssempala, the National Coordinator, HRNJ-Uganda.

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