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8 journalists arrested as president Museveni cracks the whip on ‘errant’ media house

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An alarming headline on the front page of a local daily on Monday November 20th rubbed president Yoweri Museveni’s government the wrong way.

Red Pepper newspaper ran a story about Museveni’s plot to overthrow the government of president Paul Kagame on Monday.

“M7 PLOTTING TO OVERTHROW KAGAME-RWANDA” Red Pepper’s screaming headline read.

Red Pepper's headline that caused police to raid their premise on Tuesday. Photo/Courtesy

Red Pepper’s headline that caused police to raid their premise on Tuesday. Photo/Courtesy

Museveni’s government responded with a raid at Red Pepper’s headquarters in Mukono District. Kampala Metropolitan Commander Frank Mwesigwa led the operation on Tuesday evening.

Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court authorized the police raid at Red Pepper’s head office in Namanve, Mukono District.

“The RedPepperUG is currently under siege by the Counter Terrorism Unit of the @PoliceUg & @metropolitanpoliceug,” Red Pepper secretary Arinaitwe Rugyendo tweed on Tuesday.

Police in action during the raid at Red Pepper's office in head office in Namanve, Mukono District. Photo/Courtesy

Police in action during the raid at Red Pepper’s office in head office in Namanve, Mukono District. Photo/Courtesy

Police seized all electronics during the raid. Company’s desktops, laptops, personal phones and any other document related were confiscated by the police.

Authorities extended the search to key employees’ homes. Police searched homes looking for anything connected to Red Pepper.

The raid at the newspaper’s headquarters lasted for 8 hours. Five directors and three editors were held at Red Pepper’s Namanve office for hours before they were finally taken to Nalufenya Police Station in Jinja.

The arrested directors are; Richard Tusiime (CEO), Patrick Mugumya (Chief Production Officer), Arinaitwe Rugyendo (Chief Marketing Officer), James Mujuni (Chief Commercial Officer) and Johnson Musinguzi Byarabaha (Chief Financial Officer), whereas the editors are Ben Byarabaha (Managing Editor), Richard Kintu (News Editor) and Tumusiime Francis Tinywana (Bwino Newspaper Editor who doubles as General Manager).

Red Pepper’s staff. Photo/Courtesy

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday stated that bilateral ties between Uganda and Rwanda were solid following the Red Pepper story.

Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Patrick Mugoya dismissed Red Pepper report indicating hostility between the two neighboring countries.

The PA says Rwanda remains a strategic partner to Uganda due to shared visions for integration and peace and security in the region.

“The Ministry dismisses, with contempt, allegations carried by any media publications or platforms to the effect that relations between Rwanda and Uganda are anything but strong and cordial,” the statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs read in part.

 

 

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