Masaka 14th/May/2015; Edward Bindhe, a Uganda Radio Network (URN) journalist was on 12th May 2015 assaulted by a senior ruling NRM party official, Rogers Mulindwa, while he was covering the launch of the NRM members’ registration exercise in Masaka, officiated by the party Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba.
Bindhe, URN’ Masaka based correspondent told HRNJ-Uganda that prior to his assault by Mulindwa, the former football governing body -FUFA Uganda’ spokesperson, he was first turned away from covering the event on grounds that he had no permission. “I gave up and went to the Hotel lounge to do my other work. As I was accessing my laptop, Rogers Mulindwa entered the Hotel lounge and asked me, “You, what are you still doing here yet we evicted you from this place? Who are you?” I identified myself and told him that I was evicted from the meeting hall but decided to do my other work, since I had prior commitments at the same hotel.” Bindhe said
“He commanded me to leave the premises immediately, but I refused on grounds that the hotel was a public. “It’s then that he accused me of being an opposition FDC party spy. He slapped me and forcefully grabbed my neck in an attempt to strangle me. He then dragged me by the neck to the hotel managers and ordered them to ensure that am not seen at the hotel again. In the process, one of the lenses in my glasses got damaged. I suffered breathing difficulties as he deeply squeezed my neck.” Bindhe further told HRNJ-Uganda.
When contacted, Mulindwa denied assaulting the journalist, saying he only told him to leave if he was not covering the event. “I told him to leave and he was even wearing a blue shirt and yet it was an NRM event. I never touched him.” Mulindwa said.
However sources at the hotel confirmed the assault allegations to HRNJ-Uganda saying that, Rogers Mulindwa beat up the journalist and dragged him out of the hotel. “He really never had the right to send someone away from our hotel because it is a public place, where everyone is welcome.” The anonymous source told HRNJ-Uganda.
Bindhe opened up an assault case against Mulindwa at the Masaka Central Police Station. Musa Bwambale, the Investigating Officer at the police station told HRNJ-Uganda that the police are ready to handle the matter.
“This is gross abuse of power by Mulindwa; his party must hold him accountable. The police should investigate this matter and pursue it to its logical conclusion.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala.