The Uganda Parliamentary Press Association UPPA, the umbrella organization of parliament reporters has condemned the Wednesday night raid to NBS TV news anchor home Solomon Sserwanjja and the detention of five people who include journalists who were working on an investigative story.
These included BBC journalists and their driver Kasim Muhammad, Godfrey Badebye, Rashid Kaweesi and Shafic Kasiima, as well as Ministry of Health spokesperson Mrs. Vivian Nakaliika Sserwanja who is also a wife to Sserwanjja.
These were on Friday morning released on police bond.
In a press statement issued by Moses Mulondo, UPPA president, condemned the injudicious acts of Police including harassing and intimidating journalists as they carry out their noble duty of acting as the watchdog for the public.
“Uganda’s security forces including Police and the military have continued to damage the image of
government through such primitive acts of harassing and detaining journalists,” Mulondo said in a statement adding that “This ridiculous act of violating the fundamental rights of journalists must stop.”
A press statement from Next Media, which runs NBS television, indicated that the NBS journalist in partnership with the BBC journalists were investigating a story regarding a racket of stealing and selling government drugs which are supposed to be freely given out to the patients in government
Appearing on NBS TV’s popular show, the Frontline on Thursday night, government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said Police’s acts were meant to frustrate the investigation due to fear that it would embarrass government.
Speaking to NBS TV on Friday morning, Sserwanjja admitted that he was worried about his life after police detained his wife and his colleagues.
“I have been living worried and scared, he said adding that “this has been the longest week in my entire life.”
The investigative journalist said he was not yet home on the fateful night when his colleagues were arrested and later police raided his home in Mukono over the alleged possession of restricted government drugs.
“When they were arrested, I didn’t know where they had been taken. I then told my wife not to open the door for the house until lawyers came,” he narrated.
He castigated police to drag his wife Vivian Sserwanjja who is the Ministry of health spokesperson sitting that “she was not part of the investigation.”
“I feel bad for my wife to be dragged into this. It is very dangerous for her. I am worried about her job and safety.”
But he insisted that the investigation into the theft of government drugs was done in public interest adding that the investigation will continue and that he story will be coming out very soon on the BBC and NBS Televisions.”