KAMPALA – Two journalists of Nation Media Group – Uganda are hospitalized after they were injured as security agencies quelled a protest at Makerere University on Wednesday, October 30, 2019.
NTV Uganda photo journalist Geoffrey Twesigye and Daily Monitor’s Alex Esagala are admitted to International Hospital Kampala after a teargas canister thrown by police exploded before them. The journalists were also beaten up by security agencies.
KFM’s Stephen Mbidde and others of NBS TV was also beaten in the protest.
In a statement, NBS TV condemned the assault of their journalists.
“We express concern, and condemn, the brutal assault of our Journalists by a section of the security on duty on the Makerere University premises, on the 29th of October, 2019. Our journalists, who were out to perform their core mandate of telling an objective story, guided by their primary ethics, among which are fairness and impartiality, independence and accountability to our viewers, were openly attacked,” the statement reads in part.
“As Next Media Services, we commit to remaining steadfast in our cause, and request that the Uganda Police Force and her sister agencies maintain a standard of respect towards the duty we ought to play to Ugandans,” it adds.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said the assault of journalists was not intentional.
The Wednesday violence started after police used teargas and live ammunition to disperse Makerere University students who had gathered at the Freedom Square to discuss the council’s decision on the 15% tuition fees increment policy.
The students had gathered to decide the next course of action after the University Council, among others, said the 15% tuition fees increment policy would be waived on the functional fees.
However, police could not allow them and fired teargas, sending them scampering for their lives. Those who had gone to the library and lecture rooms also fled.
Makerere guild president, Mr Julius Kateregga who had called for the assembly was also arrested and driven to unknown destination.
Since October 22, students have been protesting the policy on grounds that it was unfair and making education services expensive at Uganda’s oldest public university.
In an emergency meeting with student leaders on Tuesday, the university council agreed to scrap the 15 percent increment from functional fees but maintained that the 15 percent fees adjustment shall continue to be applied on tuition fees for the remaining period of three years.