Uganda to deport American journalist

New Uganda Internal Affairs minister Gen Aronda Nyakairima has said that his priorities include reigning in an errant media and tackling illegal immigrants. PHOTO | FILE 

The Ugandan government was Friday set to deport an American journalist, Mr Taylor Krauss, whom it accuses of violating the country’s immigration rules and working in the country illegally.

"The commissioner for inspection and legal services (Josephine Ekwang) made an order that he be removed from the country," said Mr Benjamin Kagiremire, the Internal Affairs ministry deputy spokesperson, said Thursday.

But when contacted on Friday the government insisted the American was not being deported but was leaving on an "organised departure".

Mr Kagiremire said that Mr Krauss would be free to re-enter Uganda "on fulfilling immigration conditions and getting the right papers".

Mr Krauss entered the country two weeks ago on a visitor visa which officials say prohibited him from doing any formal work.

He was being detained at Jinja Road Police Station as the government processed an air ticket to fly him out of the country, according to Mr Kagiremire.

The journalist, by some accounts, was being persuaded to buy his own ticket if he wanted to get out of detention faster and return home.

Film opposition

Other sources said he was in the country to film a documentary on the former FDC opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, and other opposition politicians for a yet unspecified American entity.

Dr Besigye was not available for comment.

Mr Daniel Travis, the publicist at the US Mission in Kampala, confirmed that they had been notified and were in touch with their citizen.

"We are aware of the case and are providing appropriate consular assistance," he noted in reply to our email inquiries. "However, in accordance with the US Privacy Act, we are unable to discuss any details of the case."

The Daily Monitor understands that security agents placed Mr Krauss under surveillance upon his arrival in the country, and picked him up on Tuesday as he filmed the police onslaught on Kampala Road where they tear-gassed protesters and towed a car carrying Dr Besigye.

Ministerial warning

A plain-clothed security operative was overheard swearing to "deal with" the journalist before he disappeared in the chaos. His mobile telephone line went off and Mr Krauss did not return to the hotel in Muyenga, a city suburb, where he was staying, according to sources.

Criminal Investigations deputy director Geoffrey Musana on Wednesday said he knew nothing about the journalist’s incarceration, and other reports suggested Special Forces personnel picked him up.

When contacted Thursday, SFC spokesperson Edson Kwesiga said he was in a meeting and would get back to us, but was yet to do so.

The outgoing FDC party deputy security for secretary Salim Angoliga said police mistakenly suspected Mr Krauss had clandestinely been contracted by Dr Besigye to record their excesses and use the material as evidence to discredit the Force and build a case against it before the international community.

It remains unclear if security operatives seized or destroyed the journalist’s recordings.

News of Mr Krauss’s impending expulsion comes on the heels of a warning by the new Internal Affairs minister, Gen Aronda Nyakairima, that his priorities include reigning in an errant media and tackling illegal immigrants.

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