Museveni to keep Red Pepper in Luzira over Christmas
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All funders, donors, tourists, people who love Africa and Uganda are complicit in the gross human rights abuses of Ugandans. AND history will judge you very harshly.
Far too many Ugandan well meaning people, media, civil society and activists have told you that you are leaving us out to dry while your “great loving” hearts concentrate on sending aid to help refugees.
The reality is that Ugandans are suffering a lot but you turn a blind eye. Our media houses are gagged, get raided, get shut down with journalists living in fear of being kidnapped and being tortured or be killed. AND YET what do you do? You all go about praising Uganda as if Jesus died and decided that the country is paradise. IT IS NOT. AND will not be until you all get your heads out of the sand.
We have so many people who could talk but they live in immense fear and hiding and some of you remember what I reported about the Kasese Genocide but apparently that was a none issue. Until now, and this one is crucial for GLAR (Great Lakes Africa Region). If you keep ignoring and forsaking the few media people who dare talk, you will wake up with a lot more than 15 UN peace keepers dead. The media house which has been silent for 6 weeks now was the only one which had the courage to talk. Your best bet of getting the beat of what is on the ground in Uganda would be to demand that Red Pepper employees and managers get released immediately with no conditions at all.
I join all Ugandan reporters, writers and journalists who believe in media freedom to ask why Red Pepper is down and why the directors, senior people, editors and journalists are being held in a maximum security prison, Luzira.
Luzira is not actually as bad as where they were held before in that torture chambre called Nalufenya.
Those who do not know about Nalufenya, do not be so curious. That dungeon sits by the mouth (source of the Nile) in Jinja. Rumour has it that our former president Gen. Marshal Idi Amin used to kill people and throw them in the Nile by Nalufenya so that crocs could eat them to destroy evidence. I said rumour – get to speed.
On, or about November 20, 2017, Uganda’s beloved tabloid Red Pepper had a front page as this picture says.
That front page was shared widely. I asked the members of #UgandaNewsBriefing forum on WhatsApp not to please share it like everyone else because something was amiss. There was no way in hell that Red Peppper would have printed such a thing.
And you think you know someone. Not that anyone understands or knows Red Pepper. They dance to their own drum beat so the rest of us just play catch up.
What was frightening was just before this, one of the blogs I Admin had run stories of ignoring the supposed tension between Uganda and Rwanda. OH mother of God, then Red Pepper prints that thing.
So of course it is phone calls all over the place, who is friend, who is enemy..something is not adding up. Which one of us is going down? No one is talking. Absolutely no one. AND this is very scary…you always want people to talk, talk and then TALK some more. No one is really talking about that print from Red Chilli and you are all okay with this?
So November 21, 2017, security raid the offices of Red Pepper in Namanve and stay there searching for a needle in the hay stack until mid night. The officers get tired and need some shut eye and drive the “culprits” all the way to Jinja. Just map the distance between Namanve to Jinja (Nalufenya) and driving that late at night to boot.
The next day, Novembre 22, November 23, the searches continue. AND most of you will remember that all this time, everyone was speculating. BUT the upcoming charge was so obvious. You would have to be totally naive to not know.
Security organs then went and searched the homes (private) of the editors and journalist and if I am not wrong, they searcher the homes of the directors, the marketing, accountant, and all those people being held in Luzira. You will see from my notes attached that I write like a duck so things look great as I am taking notes on the phone.
On November 24th, Police and whoever those big people, got the Red Pepper team to hand over all the passwords of their accounts for all their phones, computers and all social media accounts. The Red Pepper team complied. At this point, all should have been okay for them to be released but not yet.
Some friends in media in Uganda (Red Pepper friends) did the needful and eventually, the Red Pepper people were brought from Nalufenya to court (Buganda Road Court) to be formally charged.
Note something. Before this court appearance, some of them had been taken to Nsambya Hospital because some were unwell. After Nsambya, they then had to appear in court.
There is someone I told on Twitter (actually 3 people), “they do not look well. The guy on the extreme right, his pupils are dilated and his face does not look like him. He looks unwell.” My friends did not pay attention. But I want to go on record to say that the image of one of them showed something I had not seen in years. The whites of his eyes were too white. His pupils looked a strange dilation I had not seen before.
But that maybe digression. That day, all of these gentlemen were sent back to Luzira.
On December 5, 2017, they appeared in the same Buganda Court to try for bail once again. Bail was denied given the severity of the charges. Just get this. Bail was denied with the Prosecutor (who will be the next Aronda) saying that the defendants had no known residences and not even villages. BUT these are the same people who had earlier searched the private homes of all the defendants. Sometimes one has to wonder if prosecutors actually have brains. Of course, after all the dust settles, this will be a key issue for the prosecutor set a precedent. A big precedent mind you.
Red Pepper was charged with TREASON with no chance for bail out of the maximum security prison of Luzira for this Christmas 2017.
The whole thing is nearly laughable. Tabloids are tabloids. So they may write rumours but tabloids use rumours. Most of you know that Red Pepper, no matter how much wolokoso they do, they are usually quite rather accurate on some sensitive things the rest of Uganda dare not touch for fear they might end up in Nalufenya. Even I would not have had the courage to publish a front page exposing all GAYS! But they did it. I hated them with a passion and just got over it. The damn media house is a tabloid so what if they say Leah is GAY! Next thing you know, Ugandans are chasing you down for good or bad. BUT JUST IMAGINE HAVING THE COURAGE TO PRINT SOMETHING LIKE THAT SO YOU CAN BRING OUT THE ENTIRE COUNTRY TO EXPOSE THEIR HATE. Red Pepper did something unheard of where they endangered a minority group but in doing so, they brought out people who believe in justice to confront the hate!
What is very scary about Red Pepper being silenced is the silence from all the elites. We all know that most elites keep an eye on Red Pepper. NOPE, I do not..it is only because I used to edit some of their stories or else, I would not give a damn.
What Uganda is looking at now is the biggest most successful media house (bad vision and the other ones are nothing like Red Chili, you know it) being silenced and we all just crawl back under our beds and whimper like little girls? Even my girls are not that wimpy!
Okay, then if the Museveni government is gonna keep Red Pepper in Luzira for this Christmas, let us give Red Pepper the best Christmas Gift ever. Let us all remember that JE SUIS CHARLIE. We are all Red Pepper.
Merry Christmas President Yoweri Museveni!
I am Red Pepper! For a fact, Museveni is ill advised because the last thing he needs is Ugandans all turning into “I am also Red Pepper”. We already have enough people wearing RED we do not need to add pili pili which will happen soon enough. Let them go home for Christmas then we go back to the drawing table and discuss our problems.
Martha Leah Nangalama
Born and raised in Bududa, Uganda
Damn, I write so bad, I missed my calling!
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