State Drops Case Against Ntungamo Based Journalist

1872 Views Ntungamo, Uganda

In short
The hearing of the case had come up today before the Ntungamo grade one magistrate’s court presided over by Francis Matenga Dawa.

Perezi Rumanzi, a Daily Monitor freelance news reporter based in Ntungamo, is now a free man after the state withdrew the incitement to violence case it had brought against him.
 
Following his arrest on April 29th, 2012, police first charged him with terrorism and later changed it to obstruction before he was released on police bond. Rumanzi had spent two days in the Ntungamo police cells.
 
Special Forces Group (SFG) personnel arrested Rumanzi for allegedly interfering with the security of the First Lady Janet Museveni during the ceremony to install members of the South Ankole Diocese synod at Kyamate cathedral.
 
Mrs. Museveni, who is also Member of Parliament for Ruhaama County and minister for Karamoja affairs, had been invited as the chief guest.
 
The journalist was arrested and charged after allegedly hurling insults at the security team telling them that their time to go will come like it happened with former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi who was killed by rebels in October last year.
 
The hearing of the case had come up today before the Ntungamo grade one magistrate’s court presided over by Francis Matenga Dawa.
 
The state prosecutor Moses Basomi Wamudaki informed court that the director of public prosecution DPP Richard Butera had withdrawn the case without giving any reasons since they are not bound to by the law.
 
In his withdrawal form, Butera asked the Ntungamo grade one magistrate to discharge Rumanzi saying they are no longer interested in the case.
 
However Rumanzi’s lawyer John Maliro observed that the state initiated the incitement to violence case without proper evidence and that is the reason why they lost interest in it.
 
Talking to Uganda Radio Network on phone after being set free, Rumanzi said the state intimidation and humiliation he had gone through would not deter him from practicing his profession as an independent journalist.
 
The Uganda Constitution guarantees freedom of expression which shall include freedom of the media.
 
A press statement on the state of the media in Uganda released by Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ) as per July this year indicated that 50 journalists across the country had experienced all forms of harassment and attacks by people who are supposed to protect them.
 
The Uganda Police continues to lead the list of attackers followed by State House operatives; faith based organizations and unfortunately the judiciary which is supposed to be the custodian of justice according to cases reported and documented by HRNJ-Uganda.