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Top political journalist arrested, whereabouts unknown, after criticising president on talk show

(Media Institute/IFEX) - Top political journalist Andrew Mwenda was arrested on the 26-27 April 2008 weekend by Ugandan security agents. Analysts say his arrest is in connection with comments he made on a popular talk show, Capital Gang, on 19 April.

Mwenda was a guest on the show, which featured presidential spokesman Ofwono Opondo, "Weekly Observer" political editor Ibrahim Ssemujju and another guest.

Mwenda criticized President Yoweri Musveveni and charged that there was no evidence he has been paying taxes from income he received from his businesses. Museveni is a prominent livestock farmer and his cattle ranch in his Rwakitura rural home is rated as one of the most established in the country.

Museveni is said to have been angered by the comments, and to have ordered a copy of the broadcast from the station, and later from a media monitoring firm. Mwenda's arrest came a week later.

Mwenda's whereabouts remain unknown, although sources indicate he is being held by the Chieftaincy of the Military (CMI), which carries out quasi-police duties.

It is not clear when or with what, if any, offence he will be charged.

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