Masaka journalists seek apology from NUP over assault

Some of the Bobi Wine's bodyguards who allegedly assaulted journalists in Lwengo District on May 18, 2024. PHOTO | GERTRUDE MUTYABA

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Journalists in the Masaka Sub-region, under their umbrella body Greater Masaka Journalists Association (GREMAJA), have issued an ultimatum of two days to the leaders of the National Unity Platform (NUP). 

They want NUP to apologise for the alleged assault of their members by the bodyguards of the party president, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine.

The victims include Ms Gertrude Mutyaba of Nation Media Group Uganda (NMG-U), Ms Margaret Kayondo of Radio Simba, and Ms Zainab Namusaazi of Next Media Services. 

The incident allegedly occurred last Saturday at Manja Village in Lwengo District during the burial of UK-based businessman Pascal Ssekasamba. Various dignitaries, including Mr Kyagulanyi, were in attendance.

According to Ms Kayondo, she was assaulted while attempting to take photos as a fracas erupted when Bobi Wine’s guards tried to block journalists from covering the proceedings. 

“As I was taking photos, I felt someone punching me in the back. He also asked me why I was recording ‘nonsense’. I continued with my work, but my mobile phone fell,” she recounted in an interview on Tuesday.

She added that since then, she has been experiencing severe chest pain and headache.  

Ms Namusaazi further explained that the bodyguards attacked her and grabbed her camera lens. 

“People around tried to convince them [the bodyguards] that we are journalists, but they never stopped harassing us until Eddy Mutwe [chief bodyguard] intervened and commanded them to stop,” she narrated.

Mr Farish Magembe, the acting president of GREMAJA, on Tuesday announced the ultimatum.

“We hereby issue an ultimatum of two days to NUP leadership demanding a written apology to GREMAJA and a plan of how they are going to deal with perpetrators and compensate for the damaged equipment. Failure to fulfil our demands, we shall shun all party activities in the region,” he emphasised

Mr Twaha Kasirye, the Southern Regional Police spokesperson, said investigations into the matter commenced after a case was opened against one of Bobi Wine’s bodyguards.

In an interview with Monitor on Tuesday, Mr Fred Nyanzi, the NUP chief mobiliser, said the party is also conducting investigations into the incident. 

“There is disagreement among our party members in Masaka... However, we don’t condone mistreatin journalists because they are doing tremendous work,” he said.