Sempala with Eastern region scribes pose for a memorable photo
The media fraternity in the Eastern region of the country have expressed concern at the unfriendly relationship they encounter while executing their duty as the Police force continues battering them with impunity.
Sempala Robert from HRNJ is flanked by Elgon region Police spokesman John Robert Tukei.
The shocking remarks came to light Thursday during a public dialogue organised by the Human Rights Network for journalists (HRNJ) for the Eastern region held at the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) Mbale campus at Nkoma in Mbale Municipality.
The dialogue following the earlier one held in Moroto and Sorotidistricts respectivelyto seek the views of journalists andthe general public about the relationship between the media and Police in fostering development through access to media services.
Members of the community expressed deep concern at the increasing rate were Police officers are caught up in nasty incidents battering scribes while on duty and wondered how such incidents could continue happening under the new Police command of IGP Okoth Ochola.
The New Vision scribe Watala Paul had no kind words for the force of which he accused of having clandestinely battered him to near death in 2016 at Nauyo township during the election campaign time.
Watala lamented that despite identifying himself as a journalist, the ruthless officers clobbered him to near death and in the process his 2.5m/= private digital camera was smashed to pieces by the charging cops.
He reported the case at CPS Mbale and the force authorities pleaded for an out of court case settlement but ever since then,justice still eludes his fate.
Another scribe from IUIU Fm….. also poured cold water on the integrity and professionalism of the force when he narrated that he has suffered eye problems after the men of God mercilessly sprayed live teargas into his eyes resulting into total eyesight blackout.
The Lc2 boss of Nkoma ward Green Kitti Yahaya regretted the incidents saying the Police force need to realize that they are servants of the general public of which they should respect at all times.
These officers,he observed, should not forget that the members of the public including journalists are their bosses because they are the ones buying their uniforms and salary.
Yahaya appreciated the big role the scribes are playing in the region because without them,no tangle development can be realized therefore the Police should not look at them as enemies of the state but respect them.
The national coordinator of HRNJ Robert Sempala noted that they are going to follow up the case that was reportedly handled by one detective Oundo to ensure that Watala gets justice however blamed the force failure to discipline their very ones that offend journalists and members of the public saying they are the ones bent on putting their reputation into jeopardy.
“We are going to follow up this case up to the IGP to ensure that both Watala and Ayubget compensated by the force and also take the opportunity to call for calm and restraint among the field force officers by asking them to behave professionally “said Sempala
“If the force fails to discipline its very own errant officers that continue to unleash mayhem on journalists who are mere messengers doing their mandate should not be accepted by a sober and just society “,noted Sempala whose body continues advocating and protecting journalists whose lives are under threat through provision of legal services.
The participants resolved that HRNJ should increase its visibility among upcountry districts with a view to monitor and defend the rights of the members who may be at loggerheads with security agencies.
However as all the bashing took place,the Eastern region Police spokesman and community liaison officer John Robert Tukeifelt visibly uncomfortable.
He later stood up and attempted to defend his men in uniform saying it was true some officers are breaking the law and insisted that the IGP issued out new instructions compelling each officer to be held accountable to their actions