TV presenter held on sectarianism charges

Abbey Ssewakiryanga, alias Basajja Mivule. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Since 2015, security agencies have been tough on social media users that make comments considered to be offensive against the ruling government or its officials. Even Ugandans in the diaspora are also targeted with charges when they return.

Police yesterday arrested a television presenter on offences of promoting sectarianism as six artistes spent the fourth day in custody over similar charges.

Mr Abbey Ssewakiryanga, alias Basajja Mivule, who works with Baba TV in Kampala, was arrested in connection with a video in which he accused the government led by President Museveni of nepotism.

Last Friday, four comedians in a group that goes by a stage name Bizonto were arrested and are detained at the Special Investigations Unit at Kireka, Wakiso District.
The spokesperson of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID), Mr Charles Twiine, said the offences being preferred against Basajja Mivule are similar to those of Bizonto members.

“The case files were forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions for perusal and they are yet to be returned. That is what is holding us now. We expect to take them to court if the cases are sanctioned. We are still waiting,” Mr Twiine said yesterday.

Artistes Simon Peter Ssabakaki, Julius Ssewanja, Merceli Mbabali, Gold Kimatono, Saul Kamya and Gerald Kiweewa were arrested on Thursday and Friday.

Bizonto posted a comic skit in a social media video in which they named a dozen government officials who hail from one region.

Mr Kiweewa was the first to be arrested for releasing a song titled ‘Nantaba,’ and police say its meaning is offensive to leaders.