In May this year, the government arbitrarily closed down four media houses; namely Daily Monitor, Red Pepper, K-FM and Dembe FM radio over a controversial letter authored by the former coordinator of intelligence services, Gen. David Sejusa formerly Tinyefuza. They were re-opened after 11days with strict conditions. Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda led journalists and camped at the closed Monitor offices at Namuwongo, they were brutally dispersed by police, which arrested and charged some of them.
Nyakairima said he would not tolerate politicians to carry out their activities within the townships, “A Member of Parliament says he wants to meet his constituents in the middle of a market at the time of buying and selling, and if you say no, they say it is infringement of their rights. Then, how about those selling their tomatoes? Let a market be a market and a highway a highway,” he said, adding that, “Tahir Square shouldn’t be allowed.”
This comes at a time when the Kampala Lord Mayor. Erias Lukwago and the former opposition Forum for Democratic Change leader, Col (rtd) Kizza Besigye, among others are not allowed to carry out any form of political activity within the city or its suburbs. They are subject to 24hour security surveillance.
Commenting on the general’s threats, the National coordinator of Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala said: “Nyakairima’s statements are a real threat to a free media in Uganda since he mans the Internal Affairs ministry which controls the police force. The police have for several years ranked as the media practitioners’ tormentors.” Ssebaggala added that the move is intended to intensify curtailment of the media freedoms and rights in Uganda. “We call upon the minister to desist from cramping down on a free media,” Ssebaggala said.