Uganda: How police raided station over Bobi

Mamos Media

Robert Kyagulanyi being escorted out of NBS FM offices by police amid excited supporters. PHOTO/ DENIS EDEMA. 

By Derrick Wandera

Information has emerged about what happened between police and the media managers before Kyadondo east MP Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine was dragged out of a local radio station in Jinja City at the weekend and ordered to leave.

Apparently, police tried to break into the radio’s studios but could not succeed. Their demands to the station managers to open the studios were rejected as illegal.
Mr Michael Muwanguzi, the manager of NBS FM in Jinja told Daily Monitor yesterday that there had been heavy police deployment at the station before Mr Kyagulanyi arrived.

He said crowds of chanting supporters gathered outside the station as the People Power leader was live on air on the current affairs talk show titled ndabilwamu (mirror) hosted by Mr Ibrahim Shamiru Byakika.

“The police entered the newsroom and went up to the studio where we were hosting Hon Kyagulanyi but because we have security locks on the door to the studio, they could not access him,” Mr Muwanguzi told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview yesterday.

The police spokesperson, Mr Fred Enanga, denied that police had entered the station. He insisted they only deployed outside to guide Mr Kyagulanyi out of the city safely.

“Our team did not enter the station, they were outside. You can find out from the station. Because some hooligans had surrounded the station, we only wanted to make sure Bobi Wine was brought back to Kampala without causing crowds gathering around,” Mr Enanga told Daily Monitor yesterday.

On the day of Mr Kyagulanyi’s appearance at the station, all cars from Kampala were being searched to make sure he did not sneak into Jinja.

However, to avoid police tracking, Mr Kyagulanyi had spent the previous night in Jinja.
Mr Kyagulanyi abandoned his official vehicle and travelled by a different car.

Upon seeing Mr Kyagulanyi enter the building, police stormed inside the station and entered the manager’s office demanding that the show be cancelled.

When the show started, police tried to force their way into the studios but failed to enter.
“They waited for him and immediately he finished the show, he was dragged out and taken to his car before being escorted to Kampala,” the source at the station narrated.

Yesterday, Mr Kyagulanyi said he had anticipated the police reaction and was not surprised by the Jinja incident.
He said police are using the excuse of preventing the spread of coronavirus to block his mobilisation but they would have done the same with or without the Ministry of Health guidelines.

“We have been blocked before and we know that police will always come in to block our programmes because the regime does not want us to reach out to the people. We are not going to rest, we shall go on to meet the people from all available platforms,” Mr Kyagulanyi said.

The coordinator of Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), Ms Alice Alaso, said the Jinja incident is regrettable.
“We have always said the use of radio for campaigns disadvantages both the voter and the candidate. It also negates the cardinal constitutional principle of free and fair elections in that owners will be intimidated. Candidates cannot afford radio time. We ANT will engage with EC next week,” Ms Alaso said.

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) deputy Secretary General, Mr Richard Todwong, said: “We have presented before Parliament our complaints and regulations are being made by the EC on how the campaigns will be run using the media.”

Credit to Daily Monitor.

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