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Ugandan parliamentary contestant slaps and fondles journalist over "embarrassing question"

HRNJ-Uganda

This statement was originally published on hrnjuganda.org on 29 October 2015.

On 28 October 2015, a parliamentary seat contestant for the ruling party flag – National Resistance Movement (NRM) – Eddie Ssansa, assaulted a Masaka-based Daily Monitor correspondent, Shamim Jjingo Nakawooya, for asking him what he termed an “embarrassing question.” Ssansa destroyed the cell phone which she was using to record his interview at the Masaka regional police headquarters.

Jjingo told HRNJ-Uganda that Ssansa slapped her twice and fondled her breasts, even after she had been rescued from him by other journalists. “When I asked him about having huge personal debts, he lost his temper; he started abusing me, slapped me on the cheek, in the chest and destroyed my smartphone which I was using to record the proceedings of the interview, when he hit it on the ground,” Jjingo said

She further told HRNJ-Uganda that Ssansa threatened to, “run over me with his car if he ever met me on the way.” Ssansa is vying for the NRM party flag for the Bukoto West seat, with the incumbent Member of Parliament Isaac Ssejjoba and Joseph Muyomba Kasozi. Sources described him as a violent person, who previously confronted journalists when he was the Masaka District Secretary for Finance.

Ssansa also threatened to destroy a video camera for the NBS television journalist, Farish Magembe, who was recording the incident, prompting him to stop forthwith.

Jjingo told HRNJ-Uganda that she was experiencing severe chest pain and had a swollen face. She reported a case of assault and malicious damage to property at the Masaka regional police headquarters.

A couple of journalists have been assaulted, detained, shot at and had their gadgets confiscated during the ongoing ruling party elections for flag bearers, ahead of the country's general elections due February of next year.

“The conduct of Ssansa is a gross violation of the media rights and abuse of power; he should be investigated and taken to court for assaulting, damaging and threatening violence to journalists. The police should ensure the safety and security of journalists on duty by properly investigating and bringing perpatrators of violence against them to justice,” said the HRNJ-Uganda national coordinator, Robert Ssempala

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