Red Pepper to re-open after Museveni orders police off premises

The Red Pepper offices in Namanve. The President has ordered security personnel to vacate the newspaper premises. File photo.

KAMPALA – The Red Pepper newspaper is set to hit the news stands again after President Museveni on Tuesday night ordered the police off media company’s premises.

After meeting the tabloid newspaper’s directors at State House, Entebbe President Museveni reportedly warned them against reckless reporting in future.

“His Excellency the Predident pardoned the Company Directors and it’s Senior editors and promised to immediately order the police to vacate the Pepper head office at Namanve and return all confiscated electronic equipment to the company,” the paper’s Editorial Director, Arinaitwe Rugyendo, said Wednesday morning.

Asked when the paper will hit the newsstands again, Mr. Rugyendo said the exact day cannot be given but added, “we shall be back on the streets in the next few days.

The Red Pepper was closed down on November last year after it published a story alleging that President Museveni was training Rwanda rebels to topple the government of President Kagame.

The newspapers 5 directors including Richard Tusiime, Arinaitwe Rugyendo, James Mujuni, Johnson Musinguzi and Patrick Mugumya and three of its top editors were jailed for a month and charged with three counts including publishing information prejudicial to national security. They were granted bail on December 19, 2017.

The police has since kept siege on the newspaper’s premises declaring it a scene of crime and had last week applied to court to keep on for another three months.

Full announcement by Red Pepper management below:

The government of Uganda has agreed to allow The Red Pepper and its sister publications resume business.

After a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni at State House Entebbe, Tuesday night, His Excellency pardoned the Company Directors and its Senior Editors and promised to immediately order the police to vacate the Pepper head office at Namanve and return all confiscated electronic equipment to the company.

The meeting followed both formal and informal protracted negotiations with senior government officials and individuals which commenced when the police stormed the Red Pepper offices on November 21 last year and closed down the publication, sending its five directors and three senior editors to prison for a month.

The closure and subsequent prosecution of the paper’s senior officials, followed a publication the previous day of a lead story that the state said was prejudicial to national security and that of the region.

During the meeting at State House Entebbe, H.E the President warned the Directors and Editors to stop being reckless and become more professional in the course of their reporting.

He immediately ordered his staff to give each of the 8 officials copies of a revised edition of his autobiography, *Sowing the Mustard Seed* and a booklet containing a lecture he gave during the marking of Nelson Mandela’s Day at Makerere University last year, to sharpen their ideological awareness.

The Directors and Senior Editors pledged to the President and the nation, a more transformed and professional publication going forward.

As the formal process to reopen the newspaper that has been under police siege for two months gets underway, the ground is now set for The Red Pepper, Uganda’s most influential newspaper, to hit the streets very very soon.

Stay tuned!




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