The Uganda Police Force has confirmed the closure of Red Pepper publications, saying that they will be investigating the publication over its story on Rwanda and Uganda relations.
This follows an article carried in the Red Pepper publication of November 20 with headline; “M7 plotting to overthrow Kagame – Rwanda” in which the Red Pepper reproduces a malicious article by a Rwandan online publication “Rushyashya” of an alleged plan by the Ugandan Government to overthrow the Rwanda Government.
The government in a statement by Ministry of Affairs Permanent Secretary, Patrick Mugoya, has rubbished the claims, citing that the two countries are currently enjoying strong and cordial relations.
However, despite denying the allegations, government ordered police to raid Red Pepper publications and mount a search.
The Police officers headed by Kampala Metropolitan Police commander, Frank Mwesigwa besieged the Red Pepper publications with a search warrant. They combed all corners of the publications’ offices before confiscating laptops, phones and electronic gadgets.
The officers also cordoned the place off until further notice and ordered staff members to leave the premises immediately.
Police spokes person Emilian Kayima now says Red Pepper is being investigated for publication of information “prejudicial to security.”
“The initial investigations are being carried under Section 37 of the penal code Act, which provides for the offence of “publication of information prejudicial to security. However, this does not preclude other offences that may be disclosed in the course of investigations,” Kayima said.
“The red pepper premises since they are crime scene have been cordoned off to facilitate these investigations and will remain so as long as its necessary. The premises will be cordoned off until further notice,” he added.
This is not the first time the publication has been raided by the police. In May 2013, the police raided and shut down media houses including The Red Pepper and the Monitor Publications for writing stories related to a dossier authored by General David Sejusa.
Sejusa, then working as coordinator of Security Services, authored a document claiming that the Uganda government was targeting selected political and military officers who opposed President Museveni’s plan to hand over power to his son, Major General Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Sejusa later escaped and went into exile before returning 16 months later.