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EC demands for unprofessional security officials to be penalized

Paul Bukenya, EC spokesperson confirmed report. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Electoral Commission (EC) has condemned the unprofessional acts of violence that are being committed by security personnel during campaigns ahead of the 2021 elections.

The unprofessional violent acts target several supporters of candidates, the media, and political candidates contesting for various positions in the 2021 general election and the EC wants the officers to be brought to the book.

Paul Bukenya, EC spokesperson regrets brutal acts by security led by the Uganda police force on the key stakeholders in the 2021 electoral process.

On behalf of the EC, Bukenya says the security led by police should bring to book all officers identified with evidence before the election dates.

Article 61 of the constitution mandates the Electoral Commission to ensure free and fair elections.

The brutality on media, supporters and candidates followed by the arrest of presidential candidates Robert Kyagulanyi, John Katumba, Joseph Kabuleta and Patrick Oboi Amuriat were seen in November 2020. A record 54 people were shot dead while more than 100 were injured.

According to the Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ), Editors Guild, and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), several journalists have been attacked while doing their lawful professional work.

On December 27th, three journalists covering the campaign trail of Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert were brutally attacked by police in Masaka district. These include Ali Mivule of NTV, Daniel Lutaaya of NBS TV, and Ashraf Kasirye of Ghetto TV who is currently in critical condition. On 11th December in Lira district, six journalists covering a standoff between Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert and the police were assaulted. These include David Tamale (Bukedde TV), Ssesanga Batte (BBS TV), John Cliff Wamala (NTV), Moses Waiswa (Busoga One), Ronald Mugenyi (Ghetto Media) and Jonah Atusingwize (Pearl FM).

Dr. Kin Kaliisa, chairman NAB in a statement released yesterday accused the security forces, the police and the army of going beyond their mandate in trying to hinder journalists from doing their professional and constitutional work.

Ali Mivule, a journalist with NTV accused ACP Enock Abaine of shooting at him directly with a teargas canister in Lwengo while CP Frank Mwesigwa is accused of exhibiting unprofessional conduct in the arrest of Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi, the National Unity Platform presidential candidate in Luuka district.

Joseph Kabuleta, an independent candidate with a media background says besides attacking journalists in the field, the security officials have barred duly nominated candidates from accessing media houses even after paying for airtime.

He says this must be stopped in order to enjoy the constitutional freedom of media access for all.

Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso, Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) spokesperson says investigations are underway about each individual joint security officer who breached the code of conduct while on duty during the 2020/2021 political campaigns.

Byekwaso says each one of them will be arraigned in the disciplinary court individually to answer charges.

It should be noted that practicing a profession is a constitutionally guaranteed right provided for under Article 40(2) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. Therefore, all stakeholders must act or be seen to act professionally in 2021 general elections campaigns.



One comment

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