Members of Parliament under their umbrella organization, Friends of the Media, say they are surprised and dismayed by the police raid on the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper offices.
The two media houses were raided by armed police on Monday in what a spokesperson called a search to get documents related to a letter written by General David Sejusa, the Coordinator of Intelligence Services.
The now controversial letter, dated April 29 but first published by Daily Monitor on May 7th, talks of an alleged plan by President Museveni to position his son, Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to replace him. The letter further says that all those opposed to the plan, referred to as the Muhoozi Project, are targeted for elimination.
It further states that elements within the top Ugandan army (UPDF) leadership stage-managed the attack on Bombo Barracks to frame some people within government. Some of the people targeted, according to Sejusa include himself and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, among others.
Daily Monitor’s two sister radio stations, KFM and Dembe, have been put off air as the search continues.
Last week, police grilled Daily Monitor journalists for three consecutive days over the matter. Those summoned to the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate (CIID) offices in Kibuli include the Managing Editor Don Wanyama and two reporters, Risdel Kasasira and Richard Wanambwa.
Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba issued a press release today saying police will continue occupying the media houses until they get the documents they want. Nabakooba says they secured a search warrant from Nakawa Magistrates Court to authorising them to look for the letter written by General Sejusa.
After the police raid Monday morning, human rights activists demonstrated in front of the Monitor offices in Namuwongo.
And now the MPs under their Friends of the Media platform have added their voices. Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo says this is a matter of deep regret that should not be accommodated and accepted by peace loving Ugandans. He advises the police to use the courts of law if there is a matter that needs police intervention. Ssekikubo calls on government to step back and let the media work freely instead of dictating on what stories are to be carried.
Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu, who is the shadow Attorney General, notes that Monday’s events are a threat to the democracy of the country. He called upon all democratic forces in the country to resist what he called a new trend of clamping down on the freedom of the press. He argues that what is going on now is a repeat of what happened in Eastern Europe during the Soviet era.
Paul Mwiru, MP Jinja Municipality condemned government’s action and called on President Yoweri Museveni to speak about the letter written by the national coordinator of intelligence services, which started the problem.
Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga says if government wants to close the media houses then they should close all social networking websites and their mouths if they do not want to hear people speak.