Release Charles Etukuri!
In the 21st century, we cannot have our security agencies running around like Neanderthals, infringing on citizens’ righ ...
On Tuesday afternoon, our journalist, Charles Etukuri, was abducted by suspected security operatives outside our offices.
It is suspected that he is being held for his weekend stories of a Finnish visitor, allegedly in the country to link up with security officials, who died mysteriously in his hotel room hours after arriving in the country. Etukuri's abduction and subsequent detention incommunicado smacks of a cover up.
First of all, this is a very disturbing way of operating for any security agency. That gun wielding men can pluck people off the street and detain them in unknown locations, harks back to an era of terror in this country, where people were never sure whether they would return when they left home for work.
Secondly, there are well laid out procedures for dealing with errant journalists or media houses which report untruths or injure people's reputation. And finally, even if he committed a crime, he should be produced before court within 48 hours and charged.
We wait to see whether that will happen. But it is also a disturbing occurrence on another level. In the past, security agencies were not averse to meting out violence on civilians because it covered up for their incompetence; secondly it served as a deterrent to other potential wrongdoers and thirdly, it would not be widely known as communication was much slower then.
In the 21st century, we cannot have our security agencies running around like Neanderthals, infringing on citizens' rights at a whim and getting away with nary a slap on the wrists.
Snatching Etukuri from under his employer's nose, clearly without fear of reprimand is a chilling display of impunity that the majority of Ugandans have never experienced or can relate to.
We can imagine in the 1970s and 1980s the reign of terror started with the abduction of one man and when no one batted an eyelid they continued with this modus operando until it became a habit. Let us nip this behaviour in the bud before it gains a momentum of its own. Free Charles Etukuri Now!
New Vision Editorial