Kampala, July 20th, 2018. Ronald Kasasa, a journalist working with Vision Group filed an assault case at Jinja Road Police Station where he accuses a police officer of allegedly assaulting him. Ronald was accompanied by the Vision Group lawyer Tony Raymond Kirabira, HRNJ-Uganda Executive Director Robert Ssempala, Programme Officer Nandudu Diana. The case is registered under SD 34/19/07/2018.
Earlier in the day, Ronald reported to the said police station in response to a summons issued by the Division CID ASP Agaba Godwin dated 18th July 2018 requiring him to report at the station on allegations of criminal defamation contrary to Section 179 of the Penal Code Act.
The summons follows a story that was aired on Bukedde Television on 17th July 2018 where the journalist accused the District Police Commander (DPC) of Jinja Road Police Station Eliau Moses of instructing his police officer to assault him.
Kasasa told HRNJ-Uganda that on 17th July 2018, he was at Kinawataka, a Kampala suburb, to cover a meeting that had been called by the Resident City Commissioner (RCC) Nakawa, Jackie Kemigisha to announce the results of the recently concluded Local Council Elections.
However, when the DPC Eliau arrived at the scene, he called off the meeting which angered the local people. They demonstrated, accusing the DPC of calling off a meeting that had been convened by the RCC. And as a journalist, Kasasa went ahead to cover the demonstration.
Shortly after the journalist had finished covering the protest, he was attacked by one of the Field Force Unit officers whom he can only identify by face. The officer held the journalist by the neck and started pulling him. He sustained injuries around the neck. “I had just finished covering the demonstration when suddenly, a field force unit officer held my T-shirt around the neck and started pulling. I presented my Identity Card but he continued hurling insults at me. I sustained injuries around the neck. I don’t know the police officer’s name but I can identify his face,” Kasasa told HRNJ-Uganda.
One of the journalists, Hawah Bashir Namugonya, who was at the scene confirmed the assault, adding that when the situation became chaotic, she was forced to flee the scene.
“We highly condemn the actions of the police beating up journalists who are in the line of their duties. We are dismayed that the Uganda Police Force, which is mandated to keep law and order, is instead a perpetrator of violence against journalists. We commend the Vision Group for coming out strongly to defend the journalist.” said the HRNJ-Uganda Executive Director, Robert Ssempala.