Five journalists held for alleged illegal possession of classified drugs

By Robert Segawa

Police is looking for NBS journalist Solomon Sserwanja to help them in investigations over buying classified government drugs.

Addressing journalists at Central Police Station, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the three journalists were buying classified government drugs in Makindye division. He said security agencies later swung into action arresting them journalists and their driver.

According to Onyango, on arrest the journalists confessed to having more boxes of drugs stored at fellow journalist Solomon Sserwanja’s home in Mukono. “We went to his home for a search and found 14 boxes of Lumefantine, vaccines for hepatitis b and other drugs,”Onyango said. He added that on summoning Sserwanja last night he refused to turn up on time forcing police detectives to cordon off his home until today morning.

Onyango adds that police used warrant card in presence of local council 1 together with Sserwanja ‘s wife Vivian Nakalika.

He also adds that after carrying out search both local council one and his wife managed to sign on form before drive them to central police station. He further says that,although the journalists were doing an investigative story they never informed police to provide them security.

Onyango identified identified the suspects as Kassim Mohammed of BBC, Shafiq Kasame, Badebya Godfrey, Rashid Kawesa a driver and Vivian Nakalika.
He adds that the five ( 5 ) will appear in courts of law on charges of illegal possession of classified drugs.

Robert Ssempala the Director Human Rights Network for Journalist (HRNJ) condemned Uganda Police Force for searching a home of Solomon Sserwanja who was gathering information pertaining the top government officials in National Medical Store who are involved in selling off government drugs illegally.

BBC Crew has been arrested.

FDC’s presidential candidate Kizza Besigye visited Abim Hospital on Saturday 12th December 2015 during his campaign trail to the north bringing the hospital in national limelight. He decried its sorry state during a visit that resulted into the suspension of the nurses who showed him around. Days after Besigye’s visit, government announced the start of renovation works on the dilapidated facility.

FDC presidential candidate visiting Abim Hospital last year

The nurses Ms Santina Adong, Paska Akello and Immaculate Owili whose suspension was trending on social network sites like Facebook and Twitter picked the interest of the British Broadcasting Corporation Online (BBC).

Catherine Byaruhanga
BBC crew reporter Catherine Byaruhanga

Today, Police in Abim have arrested a BBC crew including reporter Catherine Byaruhanga (pictured) found filming outside Abim Hospital. Ms Byaruhanga was arrested with BBC cameraman Kelvin Brown, fixer Lawino Sam and driver Mahmoud Ahmed.

Two years ago, the Government of Uganda set aside 2.8 Billion shillings to renovate Abim Hospital, one of the biggest hospitals in the East. The hospital is meant to serve over four million people in Karamoja region.

According to the areas L.C.III Canceller Joseph Owona while speaking to Actionaid in 2014, Excel construction Company was contracted   under very unclear procedures to carry out the renovations of the hospital.  The firm supposedly carried out the work and even completed. They were awarded a certificate of completion.

When ActionAid Anti-Corruption Caravan reached the district, Mr. Owona challenged the media crew to visit the hospital. The situation is pathetic.  The water and sewage system has broken down. The walls have major cracks. The ceiling is in pieces, and the bats have made it their home. Rats are also seen running up and down freely, as though it’s the visitors that have invaded their territory. The Caravan crew had questions. Wasn’t the state of this hospital posing more health risks to the patients? Unfortunately, there was no one to answer this question, as the hospital authorities shied away from making any comment.

The BBC crew was identified at police and is now being escorted to Kampala.

Daily Monitor|ActionAid|NBSTV|Picture Credit: @cathkemi/Twitter


Thousands sign a petition to let Snoop Dogg to narrate an entire season of planet Earth

In case you didn’t know, the people love Snoop Dogg, so much so a Change.Org petition to get the beloved west coast rapper to narrate an entire season of Planet Earth has already merited a smooth 45,000 signatures.

Created by Kelly Ooton, the petition was directed to Animal Planet, Discovery Communication and The BBC and demands that Snoop D-O-double G be the voice behind nature’s most mystifying and awe-inspiring television show.

“We the people have agreed – we want Snoop Dogg to narrate full episodes of Planet Earth!” the petition reads.

The idea was birthed from a hilarious Jimmy Kimmel Live sketch called Plizzanet Earth where Snoop adds his colorful, off the cuff commentary while watching footage of animals.

When Snoop learned of the petition, the “Peaches-N-Cream” rapper was 100% on board.