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I did not assault any journalist - former police boss

By Barbra Kabahumuza

Added 8th December 2016 08:07 AM

Mwesigye is alleged to have assaulted the journalists on January12, 2015 as they were covering a procession of unemployed youth along Namirembe road in Kampala.

I did not assault any journalist - former police boss

Mwesigye is alleged to have assaulted the journalists on January12, 2015 as they were covering a procession of unemployed youth along Namirembe road in Kampala.

Former old Kampala Division Police Commander Joram Mwesigye in the dock. Photo by Shamim Saad

The former old Kampala Division Police Commander (DPC), Joram Mwesigye, has denied allegations that he assaulted a local TV journalist Andrew Lwanga and Bukedde TV's Joseph Ssettimba.

Mwesigye is alleged to have assaulted the journalists on January12, 2015 as they were covering a procession of unemployed youth along Namirembe road in Kampala.

Mwesigye who gave an unsworn testimony before Buganda Road court grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu, said on January 12, 2015 he received  intelligence information there was a group of unemployed youths who were planning to demonstrate in the city center camping at JEEMA  party offices in Mengo.

"These youths referred to themselves as unemployed youth. I asked Twehangana a crime intelligence officer at the station to verify whether the said information was true. He confirmed it was true and were matching towards the city to Naguru Police Headquarters where they were taking a letter," he said.

Mwesigye said he received the same information from the SP Weasley Nganizi the Commander of Kampala Metropolitan North, saying they had plans to disorganize the city.

"He told me! Get the group of those youth at the JEEMA office; if they burn the city you will be held personally responsible," he told court.

Mwesigye said at the time, he had also deployed other officers at Owino Market where vendors were threatening to demonstrate and at the New Taxi Park where drivers were rioting on the same day.

"Since all the Patrol cars were in the field, I boarded a boda- boda back to the station where I received the information that the youth had started matching. I got three other officers at the station including a senior detective ASP Ramadhan Kabinga and two constables. We used a private car to Mengo," Tumwesigye added.

On their way, Tumwesigye said they found the youths carrying placards around Bakuli traffic lights.

He said they tried to block them but only kept matching and shouting on top of their voices, saying they were ready to face off with the Inspector General Police Kale Kayihura.

"They had reached a dangerous spot and were inciting other people to join them. In my attempts to talk to them, I was pushed on ground by one of them whom I didn't recognize. There were many camera men mixed up with the protestors which made it hard to single out journalists," he narrated.

He said in the process six protestors including one Andrew Lwanga were arrested and detained at the station.

At the station, Mwesigye said Lwanga started complaining of not feeling well and was rushed to Mulago hospital for treatment in a police vehicle.

"I got shocked when commanders from CPS called me that Lwanga had complained against me that I had assaulted him and destroyed his camera. Another journalist called Ssettimba also showed up at police saying I had ripped his trousers," he reminisced.

Mwesigye said he has been having a good relationship with journalists for the past five years he worked as DPC and has never assaulted anyone.

The former Officer in Charge of Operations at the same police station, Fred Magumba, who worked with Mwesigye on the same day, denied having witnessed any assault during the arrest of Lwanga and others.

Prosecution alleges that the suspect on January 12, 2015 at Frelon Guest House Namirembe road assaulted Lwanga and damaged his video camera.

Lwanga and other journalists were covering a procession by the Unemployed Youths to Naguru Police headquarters, in a bid to seek permission from the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura, to hold rallies.

It is also alleged that the suspect on the same day damaged a Panasonic video camera of Joseph Ssettimba, a Bukedde TV reporter.

 They were allegedly battered with an electric cable by Mwesigye.

The magistrate adjourned the case to January 5, 2017 for further hearing.

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