I survived a bullet by a whisker

Wednesday January 25 2012

By Isaac Kasamani

I had been assigned to cover yesterday’s opposition rally in Namungoona, a city suburb. The rally went without incident. Dr Besigye was the main speaker. After the rally ended peacefully around 6:40pm, I began following Besigye’s convoy as many of his supporters trekked alongside, dancing and cheering.

By the time we reached Gayaza Road Roundabout at Kalerwe, it was getting dark. Plain-clothed security operatives were now driving closely behind Besigye’s car in a police van registration UP 1928.

At the junction, and shortly after I walked past Besigye’s Land Cruiser vehicle, one of the operatives in the blue police van lobbed a teargas canister on the ground.

I thought this was their usual manner of dispersing the crowd of opposition activists as they have often done during various walk-to-work demonstrations I have covered since April last year.

But to my dismay, as I was kneeling down to take a picture of the exploding teargas, a person inside the van, whom I could not identify since it was already dark, in a split second opened and shot toward me and immediately closed the door.

The bullet missed me narrowly as I was in motion, bending. I was startled by the incident since I was only doing my work.


Now I am here wondering what a Ugandan citizen is supposed to do to earn a decent living if state actors try to kill one in line of legitimate employment. They can at best only attempt to deny it --- to save face but Suleiman Mutebi of Bukedde TV witnessed the episode.

Earlier, the security operatives had roughed up my colleague Michele Sibiloni of AFP while attempting to seize his camera.

Isaac Kasamani
Monitor photojournalist