Journalists condemn brutal attack on colleagues at FDC offices

Journalists have condemned the “barbaric” attack on their colleagues by unknown “goons” at the Forum for Democratic Change headquarters in Najjanankumbi along Entebbe road on Thursday.

Unknown goons coming from inside the opposition party offices on Thursday turned guns onto journalists who had gone to cover a press briefing by the party chairman, Wasswa Birigwa and beat them mercilessly whereas some of their gadgets and phones were also damaged.

Others had their phones stolen during the melee.

Speaking on Friday morning , Abubaker Lubowa, described the incident as an attack on the journalism fraternity in the country that he said should be condemned by everyone.

“As we continue to seek press freedom in Uganda, we would like to notify every Ugandan that acts of violence against journalists should never be regarded as occupational hazards but rather crimes against journalism. Promoting the safety of journalists and combating impunity for those who attack them are central actions within everyone’s support for press freedom and freedom of expression,” Lubowa said.

Gabriel Buule, another journalist said FDC officials should be held accountable for orchestrating the brutal attack on journalists.

“ Those who were manning the FDC party headquarters at the time of the incident will be held accountable by the FDC. Police must arrest whoever ordered the assault together with the persons who assaulted the journalists.The journalists’ fraternity demands for a comprehensive apology and explanation from FDC leadership.”

Buule asked journalists to boycott covering functions at FD headquarters until the demands are met.

“We call upon the general public to join the journalism community to promote press freedom and protect journalists from violence, threats, and harassment while performing their duties.”

Speaking during the Frontline Show on NBS TV on Thursday night,  FDC spokesperson, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda blamed party Secretary General, Nandala Mafabi and the president, Patrick Amuriat for the brutality against journalists.

“Journalists have been beaten because Nandala Mafabi and Amuriat gave an order that the FDC chairman must not address a press conference at party headquarters. The party headquarters are being guarded by Kanyamas on orders of Nandala. They brought the group of Kanyamas from Kawempe and were paid shs30,000 each and Nandala was the paymaster. This is the saddest point that I have never seen for the time I have been in FDC,” Nganda said.

However, speaking in response, Nandala Mafabi apologized for what happened at the party headquarters and promised to carry out investigations to bring culprits to book.

“We shall investigate, the chairman came with his people, according to what I hear was a planned activity to put FDC leadership in bad light. Does the chairman organise press conferences, what was the chairman doing there on Thursday? I have not organised anyone to beat anybody in Najjanankumbi,” he said.

“I apologise for what happened to journalists who have been hurt. It is unfortunate I wasn’t there. We are going to do an investigation.”

The development came on the backdrop of a fallout within the once biggest opposition political party in the country.

 

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