Activists, media practitioners want Byandala disciplined

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah (2nd R) with civil society members and media practitioners who delivered the petition against Minister Without Portfolio Abraham Byandala’s action at Parliament yesterday. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA.

Kampala. Civil Society Organisations and media practitioners yesterday petitioned Parliament seeking disciplinary action against the Minister Without Portfolio, Mr Abraham Byandala, over punching a female journalist.
Mr Byandala, who was at the Anti-Corruption Court for hearing of his case in connection with the Shs24 billion loss in the Mukono-Katosi road saga, appears on video releasing a devastating punch, which left Ms Judith Naluggwa of Bukedde TV groaning in pain.
Signed by 150 complainants, the petition was received by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Jacob Oulanyah. The petitioners indicate that the assault raises a lot of questions on the safety and security of all people, including journalists within the court premises.

“…that Eng Byandala apologises to the media and the women fraternity and to the general public at large. You remind the August assembly and colleagues about the importance of the media and in case they are found on the wrong side of the law and the circumstances call for emotions overflow, they should manage it,” reads the petition in part.
Mr Oulanyah said the incident is regrettable and that an apology from Mr Byandala will be a good start because an admission means guilt.

“Byandala will make a personal statement in the House because we need the image of Parliament cleared in such cases,” he said.
Earlier on, Ms Margaret Sentamu, the coordinator of Uganda Media Women’s Association, said the assault against Ms Naluggwa was an act of impunity of the highest order that ought to be dealt with.
“We are looking at a bigger picture because to us, it was an attack on the sexuality of the female workers,” Ms Sentamu said, adding that the assault is also an attack on the media as a profession.