Uganda bars journalists from covering Bobi Wine's return

Thursday September 20 2018

Ugandan politician Robert Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine, gives a press conference on September 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. He returned home on September 20 but was taken away by the police at the airport. PHOTO | ERIC BARADAT | AFP


Ugandan journalists are braving harassment by security forces to send updates using their mobile phones of the arrival and consequent arrest of pop star-turned-MP Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi.

Several journalists have been arrested and their equipment confiscated in what seems to be an attempt to hinder live coverage of the return of Bobi Wine, as he is popular known.

Mr Kyagulanyi had been in the United States for medical care following his alleged torture while in custody.

Ahead of his return Thursday, police barricaded roads around the airport and patrolled the Entebbe-Kampala road and near his home in Magere, outskirts of the capital.

Robert Sempala, the national co-ordinator for Human Rights Network for Journalists, says: “Many journalists covering the return of the Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi have been arrested and their gadgets and work IDs among others confiscated.”

Mr Sempala listed some eight journalists in police custody. They are Henry Lubulwa of Uganda Radio Network, Joel Senyonyi of NTV, Diana Kibuuka of CBS FM, Moses Kyeyune and Sirajj Kiberu of KTV, Eve Muggaga of Daily Monitor, Charles Katabalwa of Radio Sapeintia, and Lubwama Johnson of state-owned New Vision.


Uganda Communications Commission had banned live coverage of Mr Kyagulanyi’s return.

On Thursday, the regulator is reported to have stormed a radio station and shutdown a programme midway.

While the crackdown may have barred broadcasters from live coverage, Ugandans took to social media to share pictures and videos of the goings-on near them.

Meanwhile, Bobi Wine landed at the Entebbe International Airport where security agents separated him from other passengers and took him away.