Friday March 22 2013

Prosecute prison warders who beat up journalists in Rakai

Watching footage of prison warders clobbering journalists who had gone to cover escaping prisoners in Kalisizo prison, in Rakai District reminded me of three things: One, that UPDF is highly disciplined compared to their sister forces; two, that Uganda has a fairly long way to go in her democratisation process; and lastly, I was reminded of Idi Amin’s days.

Beating up journalists on duty by prison warders in uniform is not only barbaric and backward; it casts the officers’ level of education in doubt! I call upon Dr Johnson Byabashaija and Frank Baine to clearly and strongly discipline those errant officers.

A clear signal must be sent that holding a gun is not licence to molest innocent civilians on duty. Journalists are also known as the Fourth Estate. What this means is that, apart from Executive, Parliament and Judiciary, there comes the media to make the government full and complete. One cannot imagine what the world would be like without the media!

It is shameful that any security officer who completed basic military training doesn’t know that journalists should be facilitated to do their work. What was at the back of these officers’ minds when they were beating up innocent journalists?

Did they think that they (journalists) were responsible for the prisoners’ escape?

Ntegye Asiimwe,