Police yesterday said they would charge a journalist with illegal assembly after arresting him on Monday capturing a documentary of a song being composed by presidential hopeful Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine.
Mr Moses Bwayo, who was under a contract with a UK-based production company, Southern Films, was arrested on Monday evening in Nsambya, a Kampala suburb, while documenting Bobi Wine who was recording a music video.
Mr Bwayo was taken to the nearby Kabalagala Police Station, where he was detained until yesterday when he was released on a police bond. The video cameras he was using were also impounded by police.
He was ordered to return to the police station on March 4.
Speaking to this publication yesterday, Mr Patrick Onyango, the police spokesperson for Kampala Metropolitan area, confirmed the arrest of the journalist and 10 others.
Mr Onyango said the journalist and his group were shooting a music video in the middle of the road, a move he said caused heavy traffic jam.
“They were arrested because of shooting a music video around Nsambya. They were inconveniencing the residents as they moved in the middle of the road without police guidance or clearance. The area DPC called them and because they were big in number, some fled but the police managed to arrest 10 of them,” Mr Onyango said in a telephone interview last evening.
“But we have given them bond and their arrest has nothing to do with Bobi Wine,” he added.
The arrest of the journalist did not go down well with fellow journalists, mainly those working for foreign media houses.
Through their professional body, Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Uganda (FCAU), they issued a statement yesterday demanding the release of their colleague.
They also called upon government to stop criminalising reporting on Opposition political activities or groups.
“The FCAU calls for the immediate release of journalist Moses Bwayo, who was arrested in Kampala on Monday evening as he was documenting Bobi Wine record a music video,” a statement released by FCAU reads in part.
“Independent journalism is a vital part of a free society and Ugandan authorities must not criminalise reporting on Opposition political groups,” the statement added.
Equally, Mr Robert Sempala, the national coordinator of the Uganda Human Rights Network for Journalists, condemned Mr Bwayo’s arrest.
“This is persecution, a journalist should be free to work, especially on this calibre of work that is not illegal. We know they will not successfully prosecute him but his arrest is intended to create fear among journalists to stop working with the dissenting voices such as Bobi Wine,” Mr Sempala said yesterday shortly after Mr Bwayo’s release.
However, Bobi Wine yesterday at about 1pm, posted on his Facebook wall, admitting to have been working on a music project with the journalist and others.
“Meanwhile, as we still mourn our comrade #RitahNabukenya who was murdered by police yesterday, 10 of our friends with whom we have been working on a music project were rounded up by police including the video directors and cameramen.
“They were taken to Kabalagala Police Station and charged with holding an unlawful assembly!
“This regime is so scared of the people that it’s even scared of its own shadow. While this should make us sad, we’re encouraged that such signs always spell the end of every brutal dictatorship. Stay strong comrades, freedom is in sight,” Bobi Wine posted.
The armed man turned and shot him, then turned back and ran away, narrated a witness, who saw Dan Kyeyune shot dead by security forces in Nansana town as they battled supporters of Opposition legislator Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine.
A witness, whose name has been concealed, and is a house broker in Nansana town, said Kyeyune, who was said to be a Bobi Wine’s People Power supporter, was shot in the eye on Tuesday by an unidentified Local Defence Unit (LDU) operative in front of Bank of Africa.
Several witnesses implicated LDUs in the killing of Kyeyune shortly after he alighted from a taxi returning from Kiboga for the burial of another People Power supporter Ritah Nabukenya.
Nabukenya was knocked in Nakawa on Monday by a vehicle which witnesses said belonged to police. Police denied the claim and said she was killed when a motorcycle she was riding on collided with another which belonged to a civilian.
“I wanted to see Bobi Wine, so I left where I was to see him. I followed the convoy and I saw policemen and LDUs clearing the road. One of the two LDUs who was at the back, turned and shot directly at Kyeyune before turning back,” Mr Byamukama said.
However, the spokesperson of the LDU operating in Kampala, Maj Bilal Katamba, denied the claims.
“There was information circulating that our soldier shot and killed a wananchi. We sent a team of our battalion commander of Wakiso and his intelligence officer to Nansana. The initial information they gave us is that the person was killed with a pistol. Our LDUs do not carry pistols,” Maj Katamba said.
He said his unit would wait for police investigations to know the truth.
One witness showed us a video clip of boda boda riders in a procession to Kampala ahead of Bobi Wine’s car and two ambulances.
In the video, the sound of bullets can be heard. The shooting is followed by two policemen in uniform and a traffic policeman dragging two young men off a motorcycle.
The young men were riding beside Bobi Wine’s vehicle. One of them was wearing a black T-shirt and another a red T-shirt.
Two policemen are seen struggling to arrest the two young men as a traffic policeman grabbed the motorcycle.
It is at this moment that a stick wielding LDU man, who was with the policemen, turned back and shot in the opposite direction before moving away.
In the video, the deceased, who was wearing a red Uganda Cranes jersey and a pair of blue jean trousers, fell behind a silver grey Spacio car.
The driver of the vehicle drove away, leaving Mr Kyeyune’s body lying in a pool of blood.
Mr Dan Ddungu, a boda boda rider at Nansana–Masitowa stage, who was with the deceased during the burial of Ms Nabukenya in Kiboga, said he overheard the commanders telling policemen who were clearing the way of Bobi Wine supporters, to shoot in the air. He said he was surprised to see an LDU shoot at people.
Several people, who were filming the procession, caught the shooting on their phones but fear to share them to avoid security witch-hunt.
“Yesterday at around 7:30pm, the joint security patrol team at Nansana Municipality was confronted by a violent procession that disrupted traffic flow and business around Masitowa for almost two hours,” Kampala Metropolitan spokesperson Patrick Onyango said in a statement yesterday.
“Although police gave several orders for the violent crowd [to disperse], they disregarded our instructions and aggressively approached the joint security team of patrollers and others pelting them with stones.
In the heat of the moment, the body of a male adult allegedly shot dead by unknown persons was found near Bank of Africa Nansana branch. The patrollers retrieved the body of the victims amid hostilities and transported it to the city mortuary for post-mortem,” Mr Onyango added.
Police have recovered the guns that were held by all security personnel and have been taken them for forensic ballistic analysis.
Mr Onyango pledged police’s commitment to finding Kyeyune’s killer.
Body at Nakulabye
In Nakulabye Zone IV, popularly known as Kiyaaye Zone, police fought running battles with youth who blocked Hoima Road demanding that Kyeyune’s body spends a night in their area.
The incident followed rumours that police wanted to take the body to the family burial grounds in Namayumba. Police later bowed to pressure and delivered the body to the mother’s home in Kiyaaye but gave conditions to residents not to allow politicians at the funeral. However, a few People Power supporters, who accompanied the body held ground insisting to stay and keep vigil at the home.