Security target journalists as Bobi Wine bodyguard is killed

Sunday January 03 2021
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Mr Saif-llah Ashraf Kasirye, a Radio One journalist and an online Ghetto TV cameraman, is carried to hospital after he was allegedly shot in Masaka on December 27. PHOTO | DAVID LUBOWA

By Jacobs Odongo Seaman

At the time of writing this, Ashiraf Kasirye was said to be in a stable condition at Rubaga Hospital. The cameraman of National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi was shot in the head by what many said was a tear gas canister while filming proceedings for Ghetto TV in Masaka.
Kasirye was reportedly targeted by security forces deployed to frustrate Opposition politicians during their campaigns across the country.

In a week that reeked of death, blood and curses, NTV’s Ali Mivule was shot at in what he said was deliberate by an officer who described it as “collateral damage.” Gabriel Buule of Daily Monitor was also injured in a beating by the men with guns and batons while in Kalangala Island, another Monitor reporter, Derrick Wandera, and BBS TV’s Culton Scovia were held for the “crime of giving live updates.”
Wandera, in particular, was taken into custody and it took the intervention of his colleagues and editors for him to be released.

The unfortunate events come on the back of increasing fears of election violence and erosion of democratic ideals in Uganda. The week started on a sombre note with the killing of Bobi Wine’s bodyguard in what the presidential candidate said was another deliberate action by security forces.
Francis Senteza Kalibala died in Bobi Wine’s convoy with NUP accusing the army of running him over while security forces deny responsibility, insisting the deceased had succumbed to injuries sustained from a fall off a moving van.

During the burial of Senteza in Kilowooza Vila Maria in Masaka City, Bobi Wine displayed X-ray images and medical result sheets. The X-ray sheets contained a reconstruction of Senteza’s head that portrayed a sunken and broken skull. The report also showed jaw-bones broken multiple times.
A medical report indicated that the deceased had undergone internal bleeding in the lungs.
“The police have always come out with lies whenever they kill innocent Ugandans. They were at it this time too but the report from the medical team at Rubaga Hospital shows the true cause of the death of Frank,” he told mourners.

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President Museveni (left) commissions the construction of the Uganda National Military Museum at Katonga on the Kampala-Masaka Highway on Wednesday. PHOTO/ PPU

Senteza was picked up from Busega roundabout where he had been abandoned in a pool of blood. In an era when police are fast to release CCTV footage when an NRM supporter is mocked by a random boda boda man on the street, security remained tight-lipped on what is recorded on the surveillance cameras.
Instead, they moved to seek court orders allowing them to exhume the body of the deceased for their own postmortem, citing the need to investigate the matter. If only the investigations could start from the CCTV room…
 
Jesus got angry, so did his laities
Not every man of the cloak subscribes to the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) message of massaging the regime and the Rev Fr John Mary Kiwanuka and Fr Anthony Musaala showed why.
Like Jesus in Mark 11:15 when he flogged merchants in the temple, Fr Kiwanuka served back the brutality that is meted out with guns but only that the priest from Kilowooza Parish in Masaka could do so in only words.

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“May the killers of Senteza be buried upside down. The prayer is that they rest in peace in banana plantations and not in heaven because they have not brought any peace,” Kiwanuka said during the requiem Mass.
Sustaining Kiwanuka’s virulent curses, Fr Anthony Musaala reminded Ugandans that when so many otherwise “good and intelligent people join the NRM and choose to look away from the gross immoralities being committed by it, then we too must look away from them and not trust them.”

Fr Musaala, the singing priest who was excommunicated for his views that went against the Catholic Church’s position before being recalled in January 2020, said no person, with even “half a brain cell, should tag themselves to a 34-year-old still-born regime, which wants to continue to misrule our country, but which is worse than our worst nightmare.”
“No Catholic, or indeed any spiritual person, should attach themselves to this power-mad, murderous clique, which shamelessly calls itself ‘our government,’” he added.
 
Happy New Year
It’s January 2021, and everyone will want to forget 2020 with all its Covid-19 and brutality meted out to Ugandans. The Electoral Commission banned campaigns in several districts, especially in the central region where the Opposition say they were scheduled to campaign.
So does that mean FDC’s Patrick Amuriat will not be sprayed with cassava-flour-like chemicals and just airlifted from wherever to his home like they did Bobi Wine in Kalangala?

If 2021 brings us respite from violence, will we hear more from Joseph Kabuleta, John Katumba, Henry Tumukunde, Mugisha Muntu and the other candidates or will incumbent Yoweri Museveni continue smiling away on a road projects’ commissioning spree around the country while feigning disappointment that EC’s ban had also affected him?
Nobody wishes for last year this year so Happy New Year!

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