Uganda's 'Daily Monitor' and sister radio stations shut

Police surround Monitor Publication Ltd office on Eighth Street Namuwongo, in Uganda's capital Kampala on May 20, 2013. STEPHEN WANDERA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The Uganda police have closed down the Monitor newspaper and its two sister radio stations – KFM and Dembe FM, declaring the newspaper’s premises a “scene of crime”.

In 10 years, the newspaper was, for the second time since 2002, surrounded by gun wielding policemen with an order to search the place for, as they claimed, Gen David Sejusa’s letter.

Time Check, 11:15 (+3GMT) and three fully packed police patrol vehicles speed in.

Two vans park at the end points of the Monitor Building with one just near the main entrance.

And like a school of elephants, the officer’s jump off the vans and start chasing away civilians who were standing outside the Daily Monitor premises, including the motor cycle taxi operators (Boda Boda) who, on a daily basis, park at the entrance waiting for journalists going to the field.

The Daily Monitor, KFM, and Dembe FM are under siege. The men in uniform have a search warrant for even the production plant for the Gen Sejusa’s letter.

In a press statement, Police Spokesperson Judith Nabakooba, said they received intelligence information that there were people who had started scanning signatures of senior government officials “with the intention of using the said signatures on documents claiming they are officials documents from government whereas not”.

The police officers on the scene, led by deputy CID Director Godfrey Musana, told Monitor Publications management that the newspapers premises had been declared a scene of crime, and no operations could continue.

We are horrified

Security sources said the state was cracking the whip over the media’s reporting of the frenzy surrounding President Yoweri Museveni’s son Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s prospects for president – dubbed by Coordinator of Intelligence Services Gen Sejusa as “Muhoozi Project”.

Mr Alex Asiimwe, the Monitor Publications Limited (MPL) managing director, described the situation as “very surprising and unfortunate'’.

“We are seeing police men wielding guns but no one is giving us a communication on what is happening,” he said.

“But we are trying to make sure the situation normalises as early as possible.”

He added: “Instead of carrying out the search, the armed men disabled the printing press, computer servers and radio transmission equipment,

“The intention was to prevent the Monitor from operating, broadcasting and printing its newspapers. We are horrified by this act, which is a gross disregard of the Ugandan law and a violation of the Monitors constitutional right.”

He, however, promised that the Monitor Publications Ltd management would do everything possible to resolve the situation.
As the police officers extensively frisked each staff entering the building, those inside were tense and were seen looking through windows to have a glimpse of Mr Godfrey Musana, the deputy director CID giving orders to plain clothed officers to start searching the premises.

Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?

Read Story:Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?