At least three journalists were violently detained by authorities in Entebbe on Thursday evening while riding on a bus operated by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA).
The UCAA bus that nearly killed them was photographed by the three journalists, George William Kakooza (CBS FM), Sulah Kagugube (UBC), and cameraperson Norah Odoi, who were held at Abaita Ababiri police station for more than five hours.
Consequently, UCAA officials accused the trio of “computer misuse.” “We are spearheading the circulation of photos/Videos on social media showing their colleagues extorting bribes from passengers.
The journalists said that they had left Kigungu after covering a story about NRM Liberation Day.
“As we were approaching Kitubulu along Entebbe Road on their motorcycle, an errant taxi driver parked abruptly to pick a passenger,” they said.
They added that: “In an effort to avoid knocking the taxi, they got back on the road but an over speeding UCCA bus nearly killed them before it parked a few meters in front of them.”
The UCCA policemen moved out of the car while the newsmen, who had parked on the side of the road in panic, pulled out their phones to record information about the bus.
“They asked why we were capturing their details and we declined to answer,” the journalists narrated.
Witnesses claim that before transporting the journalists to the Abaita Ababiri police station, the UCAA personnel roughed them up and forced them—along with their motorcycle—into the bus.
“You journalists have caused a lot of problems to us to the extent that some of our colleagues have been terminated and others arrested. Some of us are grown up and we need to retire. So why do you make us retire in the shameful way?” UCAA staff shouted on the bus.
Following a mob attack on the bus, journalist Sulah suffered a bruised neck whilst his teammate Kakoza’s belt was ruined.
Odoi, who was sobbing, was unable to speak to this journalist or lift her head, citing “traumatization stemming from the occurrence.”
Our repeated calls to UCCA spokesperson Vianney Luggya’s known number went ignored overnight on Thursday, making it impossible for us to get a response.