U.S Criticizes Government Over Besigye Arrest, Media Rights Violations

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In short
On Wednesday during the swearing in of president, Yoweri Museveni, Uganda Communications Commission-UCC ordered Telecom companies to switch off social media platforms on a directive from government. The move elicited criticism across the country, with the civil society, saying it is an attack on free expression.

The U.S government has criticised the detention of Dr. Kizza Besigye, the former Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party presidential candidate and the ban on the live coverage of the defiance campaign.
 
 
Besigye was picked up downtown Kampala on Wednesday after beating police surveillance at his home in Kasangati. Several people were also arrested and beaten by Military and police officers.
 
 
Besigye's arrest came days after government banned the live coverage of the defiance campaign following a court order banning all activities under the defiance campaign.
 
 
The arrest of Besigye and ban on the coverage of the defiance campaign has not gone down with the US government. Ambassador Bruce Wharton, the U.S Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of African Affairs told journalists in Kampala on Friday that there is continued diminishing space for political expression for the opposition and media, which are important pillars of democracy. 
 
 
He says the use of violence to suppress political rights is bound to fuel unrest within the citizenry.



//Cue In: We categorically denounce…
Cue Out:…does not end well//



On Wednesday during the swearing in of president, Yoweri Museveni, Uganda Communications Commission-UCC ordered Telecom companies to switch off social media platforms on a directive from government. The move elicited criticism across the country, with the civil society, saying it is an attack on free expression.
 

However, Henry Okello Oryem, Foreign Affairs State Minister defended government, saying the decision to switch off social media was meant to curtail incitement by the opposition.

 

About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.