The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged Uganda to investigate incidents in which security personnel allegedly assaulted and briefly detained multiple journalists covering the return of opposition politician Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine.
According to media reports, at least 14 journalists who were covering Bobi Wine’s return to Uganda from an overseas trip on Thursday were detained briefly. Some of them were also reportedly assaulted, and their equipment was damaged or confiscated by the officers.
CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative, Muthoki Mumo, expressed concern, saying, “It is regrettable that Uganda’s security sector appears to treat reporting on the political opposition as a criminal offense.” Mumo called on the police to drop any pending investigations against journalists arrested during the coverage of Bobi Wine’s return, investigate the reported assaults on journalists, and ensure accountability for those responsible.
Bobi Wine had contested against Uganda’s long-serving President Yoweri Museveni in the 2021 elections, which were marked by protests and clashes leading to the deaths of at least 50 people due to Bobi Wine’s arrest prior to the election.
Security personnel arrested Bobi Wine upon his arrival at Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport, citing security concerns over plans for a one-million strong welcome march organized by his party. Bobi Wine claimed to be under house arrest after being taken home.
According to a statement by the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda, journalists reported being targeted by both police officers and individuals believed to be military personnel. The press freedom group in Uganda mentioned that some journalists had provided statements to the police, although the charges against them remained unclear.