Friday July 26 2013

Government expels US journalist over Besigye


Kampala- The government was last night due to deport an American journalist, Mr Taylor Krauss, whom it accuses of violating the country’s immigration rules and working here illegally.

“The commissioner for inspection and legal services (Josephine Ekwang) made an order that he be removed from the country,” said Mr Benjamin Kagiremire, the Internal Affairs ministry deputy spokesperson.

Mr Krauss entered the country about a fortnight ago on a visitor visa which officials say prohibited him from doing any formal work.
By yesterday afternoon, he was being detained at Jinja Road Police Station as the government processed an air ticket to fly him out of the country, according to Mr Kagiremire.

The journalist, by some accounts, was being persuaded to buy his own ticket if he wanted to get out of detention faster and return home.

Other sources said he was in the country to film a documentary on the former FDC leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, and other opposition politicians for yet an unspecified American entity. Dr Besigye was not available for comment.

Mr Daniel Travis, the publicist at the US Mission in Kampala, confirmed that they had been notified and were in touch with their citizen.

“We are aware of the case and are providing appropriate consular assistance,” he noted in reply to our email inquiries. “However, in accordance with the US Privacy Act, we are unable to discuss any details of the case.”

The Daily Monitor understands that security agents placed Mr Krauss under surveillance upon his arrival in the country, and picked him up on Tuesday as he filmed the police onslaught on Kampala Road where they teargassed crowds and towed a car carrying Dr Besigye.
A plain-clothed security operative was overheard swearing to “deal with” the journalist before he disappeared in the chaos. His mobile telephone line went off and Mr Krauss did not return to the hotel in Muyenga, a city suburb, where he was staying, according to sources.

CIID deputy director Geoffrey Musana on Wednesday said he knew nothing about the journalist’s incarceration, and other reports suggested Special Forces personnel picked him up. When contacted yesterday, SFC spokesperson Edson Kwesiga said he was in a meeting and would get back to us, but had not done so by press time.
Yesterday, outgoing FDC party deputy security for secretary Salim Angoliga said police mistakenly suspected Mr Krauss had clandestinely been contracted by Dr Besigye to record their excesses and use the material as evidence to discredit the Force and build a case against it before the international community.

It remains unclear if security operatives seized or destroyed the journalist’s recordings.

News of Mr Krauss’s impending expulsion comes on the heels of a warning by the new Internal Affairs minister, Gen Aronda Nyakairima, that his priorities include reigning in an errant media and tackling illegal immigrants.