Uganda Journalists Walk Out of Security Briefing in Protest of Brutality

Maj Gen Matsiko stranded at Media Centre

There was drama at Uganda government’s media centre as journalists abruptly walked out of the press conference in protests of continued brutalization of pressmen and women by security agencies.

Trouble started when Uganda People’s Defence Force –UPDF’s Chief Political Commissar, Maj Gen Henry Matsiko, defended security agencies that threw teargas canisters and injured three journalists on Sunday afternoon.

Maj Gen Matsiko said journalists have turned themselves into activists thus deviating away from the professional ethics. The journalists responded by asking the General to explain whether that gives soldiers and policemen authority to shoot, beat and injure journalists.

As Maj Gen Matsiko stammered to respond, the situation runout of hand and in few minutes, journalists had parked their gadgets leaving him stranded alongside Brig Flavia Byekwaso, the UPDF Spokesperson and Commissioner of Police, Fred Enanga, the police mouthpiece.

Police and soldiers commanded by Assistant Commissioner of Police –ACP Enock Abaine on Sunday injured Ashraf Kasirye a journalist attached to Ghetto TV, Ali Mivule attached to NTV Uganda and Daniel Lutaaya attached to NBS television.

Although Mivule and Lutaaya have greatly improved, Kasirye remains in a critical condition. It is alleged that Kasirye has been a target of security forces because he is always behind cameras that capture campaign events of presidential candidate, Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.

Kasirye, according to Kyagulanyi, had a five hours’ head surgery and by press time he was still in Intensive Care Unit at Lubaga hospital. Kyagulanyi had been facing off with security forces that continuously block him from accessing his campaign venues claiming he is violating Covid19 guidelines.

On the 18th of last month, Kyagulanyi was arrested at his campaign venue in Luuka district. Commissioner of Police, Frank Mwesigwa, pepper sprayed Kasirye and he was rushed to hospital. The events resulted into countrywide protests and 54 people were killed by soldiers and police personnel.