Uganda: Monitor Says Paper, Radio Closure Is ‘Gross Disregard’ of the Law

Photo: Observer Media Daily Monitor staff locked in and not allowed to leave by the police.

Photo: Observer Media
Daily Monitor staff locked in and not allowed to leave by the police.

The Observer (Kampala) The Daily Monitor described today’s police raid and closure of its operations, including the newspaper and its radio stations, KFM and Dembe FM, as a “gross disregard of Ugandan law and the violation of [its] constitutional right.”

About 50 armed security operatives in police uniform occupied the company’s headquarters in Namuwongo at around noon, claiming to be looking for a document related Gen. David “Tinyefuza” Sejusa’s widely reported demands of an investigation into rumours of assasination plots to frustrate “the Muhoozi Project”, a perceived attempt by President Museveni to have his son Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba succeed him.

In a statement, the company’s management accused the police of abusing a search warrant to close down its media operations.

“Instead of carrying out the search, the armed men disabled the printing press, computer servers and radio transmission equipment.”

The police also raided and cordoned off the Red Pepper offices in Namanve.

Below is the Daily Monitor’s statement in full:

The management of Monitor Publications Ltd strongly condemns the closure by Uganda Police today of its newspaper, The Monitor, and its Radio Stations, KFM and Dembe FM. About 50 armed men in Police Uniform stormed the company’s premises at Namuwongo at noon with a Search warrant, blocked all exits and insisted they wanted to conduct a search.

They claimed to be looking for a document associated with a story that has been widely covered by all media quoting a letter from General David Tinyefuza to the head of the internal intelligence services on an alleged assassination plot.

Instead of carrying out the search, the armed men disabled the printing press, computer servers and radio transmission equipment.

The intention was to prevent the Monitor from operating broadcasting and printing its newspapers.

“We are horrified by this act, which is a gross disregard of Ugandan Law and a violation of The Monitor’s constitutional right, said Mr. Alex Asiimwe, The MPL Managing Director. “This matter is in court and management has contested the demand by the police for us to disclose the source of the story, and the matter is yet to be decided.”

He added: “It is particularly perturbing that the police ordered our operations shut down under the pretext of carrying out a search. It is unacceptable that our business should be crippled on a dispute which should be settled in court.”

By this afternoon Police were still at the Monitor’s premises as management sought to vacate the court order granted to them by a magistrate.

We thank our listeners and customers for their support and assure them that we are making every effort to resume our newspaper and broadcast operations.

Categories: Africa, Headlines

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