Lira, 21st January, 2019; Bismack Olang a journalist with Unity FM radio based in Lira was on Friday 18th January 2019 assaulted by Lira Mayor Mike Ogwang Olwa Veve as he had gone to cover a meeting between the councilors and the Mayor pertaining revenue collection from the Boda Boda (motorcyclists).
“On reaching the Municipal Council Chambers, the Mayor told us to go out and wait from outside to which I and my other colleagues consented, however after some time, we saw police officers coming to the chambers where the meeting was being held which prompted us to enter inside to inquire what was going on,” narrated Olang. The Mayor rained punches on Olang and threw him against the wall and was only rescued by the police officers.
Olang reported a case of assault at Lira Central Police Station vide SD REF: 32/18/01/2019 and recorded a statement. His witnesses including the councilors who had come for the meeting also recorded statements.
Speaking to HRNJ-Uganda, the Mayor Mr. Ogwang flatly denied the accusations labelled against him and claimed it was the journalist who was unprofessional though he could not point out to any of the unprofessional acts committed by the journalist.
The police spokesperson, Fred Enanga has since issued a statement dated 21st January 2019 to the effect that police is investigating this assault. “The police in Lira are investigating the alleged assault of Bismack Olang, a radio journalist with Unity FM, by Lira Mayor Mike Ogwang Olwa… you are well aware the IGP has offered to guard the space for journalists in his directive to all units. As a result, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations is fast tracking the matter to grickly bring the perpetrators to justice.” Reads the statement in part.
“The alleged perpetrator is implicated in earlier physical assault, so this gross act of taking the law into their hands and abuse of power as well as office should be thoroughly investigated expeditiously. We will make sure that this matter taken to court in pursuit of justice but also to end impunity for crimes against journalists.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda Executive Director, Robert Ssempala.