When Press Freedom and Rule of Law Suffers At The Expense of Impunity


On Monday 20th May 2013, Uganda Police Force stormed the Namuwongo based Monitor Publication with a court warrant to search for the alleged Sejusa letter that was published in Daily Monitor. This followed summons and interrogations meetings of Daily Monitor Journalists Kasasira Ridsel, Wanambwa Richard and their editor Don Wanyama, the trio argued that they cannot reveal their source because that is part of the media ethics to protect public confident..

Police evicted staff of Daily Monitor, KFM and Dembe FM a sister Luganda station of KFM. Since then, the search has turned out to be indefinite, something that worries many. 

Since employees agreed to vacate their work place which has turned in a crime scene, but police to keep in mind that they had infringed on the rights of KFM and Dembe who were not part and passel of this never ending search. This has amounted to gagged these two radios from doing their work. The said letter was not published electronically since these are electronic entities but it is very clear that the said letter was published in the Daily Monitor.

My concern is has Sejusa ever denied that he never authored the said letter? Through his lawyer the General agreed that he is the author of the letter which has not been received as said by the institution that employs Sejusa. So does this mean that he cannot be prosecuted if the letter continues to go missing?

Today 23rd May 2013, court that gave Uganda Police Force the ability to search Daily Monitor and Red Pepper, but the same court has canceled the search warrant and instructing them to return it back to court;

According to Grade One Magistrate Rose Mary Bareebe, ”In the process of execution of  the said warrant, the mandate given by the warrant was overstepped.” And the magistrate order them (Police) to vacate the premises and return the warrant back to court.

The process of letting Police execute its duty using a court search warrant was received positively but the Daily Monitor bosses and employees, but where the violation of rule of law comes in when police fails to respect another order from the same court stopping them to doing an never ending search. Is the law only lawful when it is in their favor?

Ugandan government has always blown its own trumpet, on how Uganda is governed by rule of law and democracy, but then today is another yardstick for them to prove that they respect rule of law.

When institutions that are mandate to maintain law and order, in turn violate the same law that they are supposed to maintain, then that is when press freedom and rule of law suffers at the expense of impunity.

Whatever our leaders whether in the political class or other institutions choose to do, they need to know that our young brothers and sisters are watching every step made and is this how we are nurturing a young nation and its citizens what precedent are we setting for the next generation?




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