Fred Waninda, the Commercial Court Acting Registrar in charge of Planning, Performance and Development has defended himself in a case where he is accused of assaulting a journalist at court premises.
Waninda, was in a video that circulated on social media slapping Hannington Kisakye, a reporter working with Smart 24 Television and broke his camera’s lens.
Journalists under their umbrella body, the Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) dragged Waninda to court over the same and in his defense, the court registrar denied having slapped the journalist saying he only wanted to snatch his camera.
“There is no evidence of slapping him or destroying any camera. The respondent (Waninda) intended to snatch the camera from him (Kisakye) and he ran away with it immediately the respondent started laughing at him,” the registrar says in his affidavit.
We have seen media reports of an altercation between some journalists and our Deputy Registrar. @JudiciaryUG is closely working with @PoliceUg and the complainants to establish the facts. Findings will guide the action to be taken. pic.twitter.com/HE5ktV8hZP
— Judiciary Uganda (@JudiciaryUG) April 27, 2019
He said the journalists had three other colleagues recording events on the day, noting none of them was manhandled as being claimed by Kisakye.
Waninda also claims there was no camera destroyed adding that it should have been exhibited at police.
“Their refusal to or fear to report to police was that the police would ask them for exhibits which they didn’t have. He police would also have asked them to be medically examined to ascertain the extent of the assault or evidence of bruises or swelling of the touched body parts,”Waninda adds.
“The allegations of the journalist is to malign, blackmail and paint a bad image to government institutions.”
In their suit against the registrar, the journalists allege he inflicted on them extreme pain whereas his conduct was offensive, destructive and embarrassing for a judicial officer.
A video recording by Kisakye’s camera before it was broken shows Waninda biting his teeth as he swung a slap that hit the journalist.
The recording could later be seen shaking.