The “Concocted” Report on Assaulted Journalists

Wednesday 17th February 2021. Journalists brutalized by military police,at United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kololo Kampala.
Wednesday 17th February 2021. Journalists brutalized by military police,at United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kololo Kampala.

Uganda’s Permanent Representative at United Nations-UN, Amb. Dr. Adonia Ayebare has come out to refute the 9th May 2022 publication by Uganda’s News Paper Daily Monitor, about Uganda’s report to United Nations Human Rights Committee in defense on tortured journalists.

Background. On Wednesday 17th February 2021, military police beat at least eight journalists including Geoffrey Twesigye of NTV, Irene Abalo of Daily Monitor, Shamim Nabakooza of Record TV, John Cliff Wamala of NTV, Timothy Murungi of New Vision,  among others covering Uganda’s opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi ‘Bobi Wine’ — as he delivered a petition to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kololo Kampala, protesting human rights abuses and abductions of his supporters in the run up to and after January’s contested presidential election.  The army issued an apology for the beatings and announced that a military court had given seven members of the military police a “severe reprimand” for assaulting the journalists, and sentenced them to two months detention in a military facility. The army did not share details about its investigations or the military trial process and some journalists confirmed that they had not even been informed about the proceedings far less called to testify.

“Concocted” report, connecting the dots & reactions. On Tuesday morning, 10th May 2022, Uganda People’s Defence Force-UPDF officers led by Minister of State for Defence, Oboth Oboth appeared before the 11th Parliamentary committee on Human Rights over alleged human rights violations in Uganda where the minister further refuted allegations of UPDF operating safe houses. This also follows a “leaked” report where Ambassador Ayebare reportedly told UN that brutalized journalists were compensated by the Government of Uganda.

UPDF officers appearing before the 11th Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights.
UPDF officers appearing before the 11th Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights.

With these separate, but connected scenarios (9th May 2022 Daily Monitor Story about the alleged report to the UN and 10th May UPDF officers’ appearance before the Human Rights Committee), 2 Ugandan journalists who featured in the story have issued statements – accusing Ambassador Ayebare for tabling a ‘false & concocted’ report at United Nations. Ms. Culton Scovia Nakamya of BBS Terefayina and Ashraf Kasirye of Ghetto Media who faced security agencies’ brutality while covering the National Unity Platform-NUP Presidential Flagbearer Bobi Wine, have protested Uganda’s defense.

Culton Scovia Nakamya.

Statement by Culton Scovia Nakamya.   My attention has been drawn to a story published by the Daily Monitor, 09 May 2022 alleging that the government of Uganda compensated me for the human rights violations during the 2021 election period.
The Daily monitor quotes a leaked report from the United Nations Human Rights committee submitted by the government of Uganda in defense of the steps taken to preserve press freedom.
Part of the report reads “The Ugandan military convicted seven soldiers for 90 days who assaulted journalists covering an event outside a U.N office in the capital Kampala. And the affected journalists Scovia Nakamya and Ashraf Kasirye have been compensated by the government of Uganda”.
As a person who believes in facts and a vanguard of integrity, I would like to set the record straight as follows: I was not in Kololo when Journalists were assaulted by security officers at the UN Human Rights Offices. I have NEVER involved myself in any kind of negotiations with the government of Uganda on the above matter or any other. I have NEVER received any form of compensation from the Government of Uganda.
I want to extend my protest to the government officials who came up with this concoction to submit to a highly respectable body like the United Nations.
As a journalist, I know that in the past five years, there is no clear record of how many security officers have been prosecuted for violating press freedom. In 2021 alone, 131 Journalists including myself, were victims of different kinds of violations, according to a report from HRNJ-U. Our Tormentors are still on run and in fact some have been rewarded with promotions. Scovia reminded authorities that Uganda is a signatory to the UN human rights charter and is mandated to protect journalists inline of duty. “We therefore want to work in a better environment free of human rights violations and free of concoctions like these. Fabricating such reports is a clear indication that there’s no commitment to dispense Justice and improve on the relations.”
She called upon the government of Uganda to take clear steps to punish the culprits and desist from fabricating stories to answer charges from the UN.
“I have therefore instructed my attorney to review the report and guide on the next step of action.” Said to Scovia. She added that by fabricating such stories, they’re running away from accountability.

In his statement, Ashraf Kasirye also described such report as “blatant lies to the United Nations”.

Ashraf Kasirye.

Ambassador Adonia has now quashed all claims; “For the record the Mission in New York has never submitted such a report. So, the whole story is fake until someone produces such a report. The Journalists should direct their anger to the authors of the fake report,” Amb. Adonia quoted by the HICGI News Agency.

The US State Department earlier this year published a dossier on Uganda’s Human Rights position; with part of the publication reading – Uganda is a constitutional republic led since 1986 by President Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement party. In 2016 voters re-elected Museveni to a fifth five-year term and returned a National Resistance Movement majority to the unicameral parliament. Allegations of disenfranchisement and voter intimidation, harassment of the opposition, closure of social media websites, and lack of transparency and independence in the Electoral Commission marred the elections, which fell short of international standards. The periods before, during, and after the elections were marked by a closing of political space, intimidation of journalists, and widespread use of torture by the security agencies. RISE NEWS UGANDA on TWITTER 


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