Police Block Shaka Ssali From Meeting Mbale Journalists

2922 Views Mbale, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
'Only one assembly is allowed today to take place in Uganda"

Police have blocked Dr. Shaka Ssali the ‘Voice of America’ talk show host from meeting journalists in Mbale.

Shaka Ssali was this morning scheduled to meet Mbale-based journalists  to taat American Corne r to discuss issues regarding press freedom. The police however moved in and blocked the meeting from taking place saying today is a public holiday.

An email from Dorothy Nanyonga, the Assistant Information Officer at the US Embassy in Uganda, states that the police stopped the meeting on the grounds that only one gathering--the swearing in ceremony was allowed to take place today in Uganda.

Philip Achaye, the Eastern Regional Police Commander says police stopped the meeting because the organizers scheduled it to take place on a public holiday. He says police could not allow the meeting to take place in a public library yet it’s a public holiday.

Achaye says they advised the organizers of the function to reschedule it to another day or go to a hotel if they wished to continue with it.

But the decision to block the meeting has not gone down well with the journalists who now accuse the police of sabotage.
Mary Wakigo, the News Editor of Signal FM a radio station in Mbale town, described police action as unfortunate and uncalled for because the meeting was just to share experiences on media freedom. She says today was going to be a day for her to meet and interface with her talk show idol Shaka Ssali.

David Mafabi the President of Mt. Elgon Press Association says police action is a direct attack on the constitutional right to freedom of speech and association. Mafabi suspects police could have blocked the meeting basing on fear that the journalists would disseminate information they have shared with Shaka Ssali to the masses.

Mafabi says the journalists in Mbale will now organize and have a telephone interface with Shaka Ssali to share with him experiences in media freedom.

The development follows an unsuccessfully attempt made by Mbale Resident District Commissioner Paul Nangoli to block Shaka Ssali from appearing on Step Radio and Television Stations.

Shaka Ssali and officials from the US Embassy left Mbale for Kampala this morning after the meeting was blocked.