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One of the most notable improvements in Uganda has been in the relative freedom given to the NGO community and the press. Uganda is home to a number of independent newspapers, some of which are frequently critical of the government. The Human Rights Network of Uganda (HURINET), a consortium of human rights NGOs in Uganda, currently has twenty-five member organizations. The Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) at Makerere University has been able to make human rights education a central part of the education of all university students and is considered to be one of the preeminent academic human rights institutions in Africa.4 Human Rights Watch attended a seminar sponsored by the Centre for Basic Research in Kampala in May 1998 where academics and politicians debated the movement system in a frank and open manner, seemingly without fear of retaliation. Despite this apparent openness, however, there are limits placed on the work of human rights NGOs and the media in Uganda.

Restrictions on NGO Activities

Ugandan human rights NGOs operate throughout the country, although the vast majority are based in the capital Kampala and conduct only limited activities outside the capital. Human rights groups such as the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) in Kampala and Human Rights Focus (HURIFO) in Gulu carry out some limited human rights investigative work, while the Uganda Law Society (ULS) and the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-U) represent some victims of human rights violations in court. The vast majority of human rights work carried out in Uganda is human rights education.

Several groups interviewed by Human Rights Watch claimed that they felt compelled to practice a significant amount of self-censorship to avoid confrontations with the government. This includes the issues they monitor: they normally focus on such issues such as prison reform, but rarely touch more controversial issues such as army abuses and the political restrictions associated with the movement system. However, a growing number of NGOs in Uganda are becoming increasingly willing to address army abuses and other "sensitive" areas of human rights abuses, partly encouraged by the work of the official Ugandan Human Rights Commission in these areas. But human rights NGOs continue to feel that the government is hostile to their work. A leading human rights activistin Uganda described the attitude of the go

vernment towards human rights groups as follows:

Museveni has said that human rights organizations are just blowing hot air and squandering money. Within this region, from Rwanda to Eritrea, you see a new brand of leaders. They are supposed to be enlightened despots. They accept the need for human rights to exist for their image, but do not believe in their inherent worth. In Uganda, we are tolerated as long as we censor ourselves. If we touch some buttons, we would be in trouble.5

The Ugandan government exercises significant control over NGO activities through the Non-Governmental Organizations Registration Statute, which requires that all NGOs operating in Uganda be registered. According to some NGO representatives, this process of registration is sometimes manipulated by the government in order to silence its critics. The National Board for Non-Governmental Organizations, created under this statute, includes representatives of a number of security organizations (the internal security organization (ISO) and the external security organization (ESO)). It has the power to revoke registration if it deems this to be in the "public interest."6

The control exercised by the National Board over the registration of NGOs presents a significant curb on the allowed activities of NGOs. According to Sheila Kawamara, coordinator of the Uganda Women's Network (UWONET), "They often remind us of our registration, which requires us to be nonpolitical, nonpartisan, noneverything. So whenever there is controversy, they tell us we are violating our statute."7 NGOs are required to renew their registration after the first year, and thereafter every three years. By delaying their response to registration renewal requests, the NGO Board can exert significant pressure over NGOs. UWONET is one group which had received no response to its registration renewal request at the time of Human Rights Watch's visit.

Refusal to Register Uganda National NGO Forum

Several NGOs have apparently overstepped the boundaries established by the government and have been subjected to government harassment. One of the long-running cases of government interference with the activities of a civil society group has been the refusal of the government to register the Uganda National NGO Forum ("the NGO Forum"). The NGO Forum has stated that its aim is to provide a common forum for all domestic, foreign, and international NGOs active in Uganda, in order to enhance dialogue between the NGO community and the government, and to promote networking and information exchange between NGOs. Sheila Kawarama, the coordinator of the UWONET, is also one of the driving forces behind the NGO Forum and explained its purpose, as well as the hostility with which the government has reacted to its formation:

We have been trying to get our national NGO Forum registered since 1995. But the government tries to divide us, they say that foreign NGOs should not discuss internal affairs because they are serving foreign governments. In issues of policy dialogue and human rights, we want to talk with a common voice. We bring out our issues and address them collectively. But the government wants us to talk individually, which weakens our voice. [As a women's group] we do not just wish to talk about women's rights, because many other issues affect our lives. ... We have a right as civil society to form our own organizations.8

The NGO Network filed all the necessary paperwork for registration in November 1997, and paid its mandatory 15,000 shilling registration fee at the same time. After repeated requests by the NGO Forum for action on the registration application, the NGO Board replied in March 1998 that the application had been "deferred until further notice" because the government was in the process of amending its legislation governing NGOs. The letter also stated that the "issue of you being a spokesperson and representative for all Foreign, International and Community Based Organisations was also revisited," suggesting that the NGO Board was uncomfortable with the idea of such a broad coalition. The NGO Board further said it wanted to research the functioning of similar broad coalitions in neighboring countries. The letter suggested that the government saw the NGO Forum as a possible competitor for its own, government-organized but nonfunctioning NGO Council:

As you might be aware, there is a decision by cabinet pending the legal formation of the National Council of Voluntary Social Services (NCVSS). The cabinet approved the bill in 1992 to establish this body,whose role in governing NGOs might be the same roles as you would like to play.

The letter ended with a strong warning to the NGO Forum to suspend its activities: "You are meanwhile advised not to coordinate activities of NGOs directly, handle policy dialogue with NGOs individually, lobby government or donors directly until your registration is formalized."9

The attitude of the government towards the NGO Forum is not always consistent. In October 1998, the NGO Board replied again to enquiries from the NGO Forum, stating that "the status quo remains the same" on the registration of the NGO Forum, and refusing to arrange a meeting between the NGO Forum and the NGO Board to discuss the registration application of the former. At the same time, while explicitly affirming that the March 1998 warning to suspend its activities (including government lobbying) still stood, the October letter asked the NGO Forum to give the NGO Board input on its proposals for the restructuring of the NGO Board.10 Similarly, in November 1998, the office of the prime minister invited the NGO Forum to participate in a workshop on national NGO policy and asked the NGO Forum to make a twenty-minute presentation stating the position of the network on the national NGO policy, even though the NGO Board had still not registered the NGO Forum.11

The issue of the registration of the NGO Forum again gained prominence when it attempted to organize a consultative meeting on the proposed national policy for NGOs in March 1999. The NGO Forum invited the office of the prime minister to attend the opening of the meeting and to send a representative to attend the entire proceedings. The office of the prime minister replied with a threatening letter, again stating that the NGO Forum could not engage in any activities until it had obtained registration, concluding:

[I]t would be improper for any Government official to attend this kind of meeting in an Official Capacity. By copy of this letter, I am requesting my colleague in the Ministry of Internal Affairs to stop you from doing the right thing in the wrong way.

In the meanwhile, you are advised that the proposed NGO "FORUM" cannot conduct policy dialogue with government, lobby government and be a spokesman for the registered NGOs and the civil society in the country until registered as a NGO as well.12

The NGO Forum proceeded with its planned consultative meeting, and informed the prime minister's office of the resolutions taken at the meeting.13

On May 27, 1999, the NGO Forum organized its second general assembly at the International Conference Center in Kampala. According to the organizers, the general assembly meeting was well publicized and the meeting was attended by representatives of more than 260 national, foreign and international NGOs. At about 11 a.m., two plainclothes policemen who identified themselves as belonging to Kampala Central Police Station entered the meeting hall, approached the organizers and ordered them to stop the "illegal meeting." The organizers demanded to see a letter authorizing the break-up of the meeting, and the police officers returned shortly afterwards with a letter from Inspector General of the Police J. Kisembo entitled "Illegal Acts by Uganda NGO Forum," which referred to the fact that the NGO Forum was "not duly registered as a required by the law" and ordered the organizers to "immediately stop the said meeting which has been unlawfully constituted."14 The delegates at the NGO Forum decided to end the meeting peacefully and avoid a confrontation with the police.15

Revocation of UHEDOC Registration

The Uganda Human Rights and Documentation Centre (UHEDOC) has experienced similar registration problems. In November 1996, UHEDOC held a well-attended seminar on corruption in Uganda, featuring Winnie Byanyima, an outspoken member of parliament, as the keynote speaker. When UHEDOC tried to renew its registration a few days after the seminar, it was stonewalled. For the next months, UHEDOC regularly sent its representatives to the registration office at the Ministry of Internal Affairs to check on the registration process. When a British consultant at UHEDOC was denied access to Luzira prison on the groundsthat the organization was not registered, she approached the minister of internal affairs, Major Tom Butime. According to a UHEDOC source, the minister phoned the UHEDOC offices after the meeting:

He was very furious, asking why we had sent a muzungu [white] lady to his office and what we were doing as activities. He then asked whether our interests were to serve London or Copenhagen [the source of some UHEDOC funding], and before banging down the phone, he said we were no more as an organization. This was at 11 a.m. At 1:30 p.m., we received a notice that we were terminated as an organization in the public interest. We thought that this could only be done through the NGO board, which allows for an appeal to the minister. Since the minister himself issued the order, whom could we appeal to? What followed then was a long process of underground negotiations. ... We had not known that NGOs practice this self-censorship. Anybody who does opposition activities or is seen as doing this is frustrated by paper, not physically threatened.16

Before agreeing to restore UHEDOC's certificate of registration, the minister of internal affairs made it clear that they must function without political overtones: "So we are now operating on the basis of being good people, not anti-government, and within the parameters of the unwritten rules which can be perceived by those who are not blind."17

Delay in Registration of NOCEM

The National Organization for Civic Education and Elections Monitoring (NOCEM), which is an umbrella NGO consisting of twelve community-based NGOs,18 had similar problems with the registration process. NOCEM was formed in 1993, prior to the constituent assembly elections, in order to provide independent civic education and elections monitoring. According to the NOCEM chairperson,Mr. Zirabamuzaale, the registration of NOCEM took almost three years because the government was concerned about the participation of multipartyists in NOCEM and about the rapid growth of NOCEM monitoring branches throughout the country:

Our structures grew very fast and this worried the government. There were multipartyists involved in NOCEM, but also NRM supporters. The government studied our structures carefully, and a member of the NGO Board told us that the Internal Security Organization (ISO) had requested our files. The registration took us about three years. They just would not respond to our requests for information. They told us that there was a backlog, but meanwhile they were registering others who had applied later. They kept telling us that unless we sweep house, we would not get registered. I think they meant that we should get rid of multipartyists, but this was impossible since we have no control over the membership of our member organizations. We were finally registered on December 4, 1995.19

A number of recent incidents of government interference with civil society in Uganda are documented in this report's discussion of the right to freedom of assembly. These incidents include the last minute cancellation of a Kampala peace march sponsored by the church and NGO in March, 1998, on the apparent grounds that the march could be turned into a political event, and the breaking up of a series of seminars on the topic of "Human Rights and Democracy" sponsored by the Foundation for African Development (FAD) and the Uganda Young Democrats (UYD). A single theme running through most of these incidents is that they all took place in response to perceived attempts by groups to discuss or document "political" topics. Thus, civil society in Uganda continues to be effectively prevented from addressing some of the most pressing human rights issues in Uganda, namely the political restrictions which operate under the movement system.

NRM Efforts to Organize Civil Society

The NRM-led government has organized a number of NRM-controlled and aligned organs that extend into broad sectors of civil society. In 1993, the government established the National Association of Women's Organizations inUganda (NAWOU), which is facilitated by the Ministry of Women in Development. As discussed above, the NRM government has also attempted to form an all-encompassing NGO forum, the National Council of Voluntary Social Services. The NRM has been especially active in the area of youth mobilization: in 1988, the NRM convened a meeting which led to the establishment of the Uganda National Students Association (UNSA) and in 1994 Youth Councils were established by the government at all local council levels: "The Councils, which are financed by the government, are integrated into the government accounting system and are to be audited by the auditor general. The Secretary General of the National Youth Council is appointed by the Minister in charge of youth."20

Furthermore, attempts by NGOs to organize themselves into broader coalitions have been resisted by the Ugandan government, which originally refused to register the independent Uganda Women's Network (UWONET). According to Sheila Kawamara, its coordinator:

The government wants to form its own NGO forums. They do not want NGOs to come together and speak with one voice. When UWONET was first formed, the government refused to register us. The government told us, "Why do you claim to speak on behalf of women when there is a women's ministry?" The government is skeptical of NGOs, they think we will turn into political parties. We have been trying to get our national NGO forum registered since 1995.... But the government wants us to talk individually, which weakens our voice.21

President Museveni has often been critical of the work of human rights groups in Uganda, urging them to focus on abuses by rebel groups instead of government abuses. A large consortium of human rights NGOs asked Museveni to consider peace talks with rebel groups and raised concerns about a spate of arbitrary arrests and allegations of torture by security forces with Museveni in June 1998. Museveni responded by rejecting compromise and urging the human rights organizations to focus on rebel abuses instead of government practices: "You human rights groups should instead demand that these criminals are arrested.... Actually there should be more arrests because you cannot imagine the number of people who have been killed by extra-judicial means by these criminals. Do theyrespect human rights? Why don't you ask them?"22 Abuses committed by rebel groups, however grave, do not justify human rights abuses by government forces. Museveni again responded with hostility when journalist raised allegations of UPDF abuses against rebel suspects in July 1998:

We are going to be very ruthless with these people. I should ask you journalists to show more indignation towards those criminals than towards the government...You do not care about the human rights of innocent victims of terrorism. [The rebels] will get what they are giving to our people. We are now roasting them in the mountains [Rwenzori], these cowards... We have been too soft. I do not want to hear of those fellows.23

Restrictions on Press Freedom

Uganda has a vocal and independent press in addition to the government-owned New Vision newspaper. Some opposition political parties publish newspapers, such as the UPC's People newspaper. There are more than twenty independent newspapers and magazines which often express opinions highly critical of government policies and practices, including the movement system of government. Minister of Information Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda has occasionally spoken favorably of press freedom, arguing that it not only benefits journalists but also society: "It is like a doctor feeling the patient's pulse, you see what the problem is and work on it."24 After a conference at which press freedom in Uganda was praised, the East Africa Media Institute decided to shift its secretariat from Nairobi to Kampala, citing "bureaucratic bottlenecks" in Kenya.25

Despite these positive developments, the Ugandan government continues to detain and charge journalists under repressive sedition and "publishing false news" legislation, causing journalists to practice self-censorship. The paradoxical contrast in Uganda between a vocal and diverse press and the regular arrests and prosecutions of leading media figures results in part from the draconian press laws which remain on the books, despite the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of the press. Some of the laws used to prosecute journalists, such as the law on seditious libel, date back to the colonial era. The sedition statutes give thegovernment draconian powers to arrest and prosecute journalists who raise the government's ire, as demonstrated in the cases outlined below. In 1995, the Press and Journalists Law came in effect after its adoption by the non-elected National Resistance Council. The law requires all journalists to be licenced, and provides for a media council which monitors and disciplines journalists and editors. While the media council is empowered to arbitrate disputes between the media and the State, to discipline journalists, and "to regulate the conduct and promote good ethical standards and discipline of journalists," the government rarely resorts to the Council for the resolution of disputes with the media, preferring to rely on more severe criminal sanctions instead.26

The Press and Journalists Law of 1995 and the various criminal statutes such as sedition and criminal libel which are used against journalists are vigorously opposed by journalists as a limit on the freedom of the press. In June 1997, the Uganda Journalists Safety Committee brought two petitions in the constitutional court, one challenging the press and journalists law and another challenging the sedition and criminal libel sections of the criminal code. The petitions were dismissed in December 1997.

Prominent incidents of detention, arrest, and prosecution of journalists include:

C On December 20, 1998, James Mujuni, the Mbarara correspondent for the government-owned New Vision newspaper, was reportedly arrested at the newspaper's Mbarara office by three plainclothes members of the district's criminal investigations department (CID). He was later charged with "promoting sectarianism." The charges appear to be related to articles he wrote on November 9 and 12 about the proliferation of guns among Bahima herdsmen in the Mbarara cattle corridor, Museveni's home region. The New Vision newspaper reported that District Police Commissioner Walter Ogom stated that the arrest "had been directed from Kampala."27 Mujuni was transferred to Kampala, where he was questioned for several hours and kept overnight before being released. Mujuni later said that the police asked him to serve as a witness against George Lugalambi, editor of the Crusader newspaper, who had been arrested on December 17, 1998, and charged with "promoting sectarianism" (see below).28

C On December 17, 1998 four armed policemen, including one with an AK-47 assault rifle, raided the offices of the Crusader newspaper in Kampala, confiscating some documents which they reportedly described as "seditious material." The editor of the Crusader, George Lugalambi, and a staff reporter, Meddie Musini, were taken away by the policemen and kept overnight at the police station for questioning. The next day, Lugalambi was charged with promoting sectarianism for publishing an article on entitled "Karuhanga's Excuse for Arming Bahima is Nonsense," relating to the arming of Bahima herdsmen in the Mbarara cattle corridor. Lugalambi was released on cash bail of 300,000 Uganda shillings (about U.S. $300) and three sureties of 5 million shillings (about U.S. $5,000) each.29

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) wrote to President Museveni to express its concerns about the case, stating that it believed that the arrest and prosecution of Lugalambi "is a warning from the government to Uganda's journalists, that those who report on issues such as official corruption, ethnic tension, and human rights will face reprisals from the government."30

Following the arrest, Amos Kajuba, President of the East African Media Institute, met with Ugandan Minister of Information Basoga Nsanju on December 19, 1998, to express his concerns about a recent spate of arrests of journalists over the publication of political statements, and urged that complaints be handled by the government-established Media Council rather than through criminal charges. The minister reportedly replied by urging editors to practice self-censorship before publishing sensitive stories.31

C On October 29, 1998, Kevin Ogen Aliro, an editor at the Monitor newspaper, sustained serious injuries, including a compound collarbone fracture and a fractured shoulder blade, after being attacked by six unidentified assailants. Aliro could not recognize his assailants, but they knew him by name and profession. One called him by his first name. Another shouted at him "thiswill teach you to keep your big mouth shut." Aliro believes that the attack was in retaliation for an article entitled "Safe Houses: A Return to the Shadows," published in the Monitor on October 27, 1998. The article presented strong evidence that the internal security organization (ISO) and other intelligence agencies were torturing terrorism suspects in secret "safe houses" around Kampala.32

C On June 2, 1998, Mulindwa Muwonge, host of the Ekijja Omanya program on the independent Central Broadcasting Station (CBS), was detained and interrogated by the police in Kampala.33 The questioning focused around the "dangerous" remarks made by Muwonge on a May 31, 1998 broadcast about the proposed Land Bill, legislation widely disliked by Buganda leaders. The radio station was publicly criticized by Museveni who blamed the station for "inciting the public to rise against the constitution."34

Earlier, the minister of information, Ruhakana Rugunda, threatened to refer CBS to the Media Council because "it has been inciting people instead of explaining the [land] bill to them."35 The minister of state for local government compared Muwonge's work to that of the extremist Radio Milles Collines in Rwanda:

This is very dangerous. There is this man called Muwonge Mulindwa with his program on CBS. We request you to slow down. You remember what happened in Rwanda. ... You can see the extent to which irresponsible journalism can go. It can plunge our country into genocide.36

The CBS incident coincided with other attempts by the government to limit the public debate on the proposed land bill, such as the arrest of outspokenmembers of parliament opposed to the land bill and police interference with public events opposing the land bill discussed above in this report.

C Loy Nabeta, assistant editor of the Monitor, and Monitor senior writer Pius Katunzi were questioned for several hours in Kampala on April 22, 1998. The two had published an "April Fools" day story in the Monitor under the title "Pulkol Flees to Sudan: Senior UPDF Officers arrested." The story suggested that senior UPDF officers had been arrested after a plan to assassinate U.S. President Clinton had been uncovered, and that the director-general of external security (ESO), David Pulkol, had fled to Sudan after his role in the plot had been uncovered. The story carried a clear disclaimer at the end, stating: "However we do hope that you enjoy your Fool's Day and don't take this as a true story."37

C CBS presenter Mulindwa Muwonge was summoned for questioning in Kampala in March 1998 for making "irrational statements" on the radio. Police accused Muwonge of exposing a police informant on the radio.38

C On October 24, 1997, Monitor editor Charles Onyango Obbo and reporter Andrew Mwenda were arrested and charged with "publishing false news" after a story appeared in the Monitor on September 21, 1997, entitled "Kabila paid Uganda in Gold, says report." The story was based on a report by the Paris-based Indian Ocean Newsletter, claiming that President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo paid Uganda in gold for Uganda's support of his anti-Mobutu rebellion. At a graduation ceremony soldiers in Jinja on the day after the story appeared President Museveni spoke in anger against the story and vowed to punish the paper and the journalists.

The journalists were released on bail of 2 million Ugandan shillings (about U.S. $2,000) each and sureties of 5 million Ugandan shillings (about U.S. $5,000) each, a bail amount which was condemned as "unfair and unjustifiable" by the Uganda Journalists' Safety Committee, a media watchdog organization.39 The bail amount was the highest ever imposed for a misdemeanor offense. The bail was later reduced to 200,000 Ugandanshillings each (about U.S. $200) after a successful appeal to the high court.40 Senior presidential adviser on media and public relations John Nagenda testified in the case that the publication of the story was a treasonable offense in his view.41 The two journalists were acquitted in February 1999, when a magistrate held that although the allegations in the story were false, they had not caused fear or alarm to the public.42

C The Committee to Protect Journalists reported in July 1997 that Henry Tumwine, a reporter with New Vision, was arrested by soldiers at Fort Portal and taken to an undisclosed location. The arrest followed the publication of his article documenting the discovery of fifty-eight bodies in Bundibugyo, apparent victims of a massacre by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels.43 The journalist was later released.

C Amos Kajoba, editor of the UPC-owned newspaper People, was detained for five hours on March 24, 1997, after publishing a report on a security meeting of West Nile community leaders, and had to report to police on at least five different occasions afterwards.44

C The editor of the Lira-based Rupiny newspaper was briefly detained in April 1997 by police for allegedly publishing negative reports about Lira municipality.45

C Editors of the Monitor were detained and questioned in February 1997 by police following the publication of news articles which apparently angered President Museveni.46

C On December 4, 1996, Peter Busiku, editor of the weekly Uganda Express, was arrested by plainclothes policemen and charged with publishing "false statements or reports which are likely to cause fear and alarm to the public." The arrest followed the publication of an article entitled "Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda plan assault on Tanzania," alleging that Uganda was involved with Rwanda and Burundi in planning attacks on Hutu refugees in Zairian and Tanzanian refugee camps.47 His trial began on May 21, 1997, before Magistrate Precious Nyabriano in Kampala. Rwandan Vice-President Paul Kagame admitted in a July 1997 interview that Rwanda had planned attacks on the Zairian refugee camps, and Uganda has also been shown to have been deeply involved in Kabila's ADFL rebel campaign which carried out the attacks.48

C On October 3, 1996, Mulindwa Muwonge, the CBS radio journalist, was arrested, interrogated, and detained overnight. CBS had broadcast interviews of people discussing the stand-off between government and traders who were striking to protest a recently introduced VAT tax. The minister of internal affairs had issued a statement on October 1, 1996, warning that anyone who encouraged the strike would be arrested.

C Teddy Sseezi-Cheeye, editor of Uganda Confidential and a critic of the Museveni government, has been subjected to court proceedings on a number of occasions. He was arrested on January 21, 1996 and kept in solitary confinement. His wife claimed that she was denied the opportunity to visit her husband while he was in detention. He was released four days later.

In a separate case, Cheeye was found innocent in January 1997 of having kidnapped a woman for sexual purposes, with the chief magistrate commenting that the charges were "a frame-up engineered by powerful and corrupt people" whom Cheeye had previously criticized for corruption.49

Cheeye was convicted in 1996 of defaming Chief Justice Wambuzi, and continues to face various libel cases brought by individuals who have been the targets of his highly personalized editorials.

Cheeye was previously arrested and charged with sedition in 1993, after running a series of articles accusing the president's wife of involvement in her cousin's murder over a land dispute, and accusing the Uganda Revenue Authority of "politically inspired nepotism."

C On August 25, 1995, Hussein Musa Njuki, editor of the Islamic opposition weekly Assalaam, and Haruna Kanaabi, editor of the Islamic opposition weekly Shariat, were arrested by members of the anti-robbery squad, a division of the ISO. Njuki was to be charged with sedition for publishing an article entitled "Multiparty democracy will not return to Uganda until Museveni dies." Kanaabi was arrested for publishing a tongue-in-cheek article entitled "Rwanda is now a Ugandan province."

Forty-two-year-old Njuki died in police custody three days after his arrest, most likely because of deteriorating health which may have been exacerbated by his incarceration.

Kanaabi was denied bail on the grounds that the editor of a different paper, Lawrence Kiwanuka of the Citizen, had recently fled the country while on bail (see below). Kanaabi was convicted of sedition and publishing false news in December 1995, and sentenced to five months imprisonment: he was released soon after sentencing for time served while awaiting trial. The conviction was affirmed by the high court on November 13, 1996. Kanaabi and Njuki had previously been detained and charged with sedition in October 1993 in conjunction with the publication in Shariat of a letter to the editor which expressed the opinion that "Museveni and his gang of thieves are destroying the country."

C On April 13, 1995, Lawrence Kiwanuka, editor of the DP paper Citizen, was arrested and held incommunicado at Kampala central police station for a week, until April 20, 1995, when he was released on bail of one million shillings (about U.S. $580) and two sureties valued at U.S. $17,000 each.50 He was charged with two counts of "publishing false information likely to cause disaffection within the state." The charges related to the publication of an article quoting a letter by members of the External Security Organization(ESO) accusing the government of support for Sudanese and Kenyan rebel groups.51 Kiwanuka also accused the Ugandan army of fighting alongside the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) in Rwanda, and had conducted interviews with leaders of the newly-formed National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rebel movement.52 New Vision claimed that security officials wanted Kiwanuka to lead them to the NDA rebel camps where he had conducted interviews and which he had photographed.53

Kiwanuka fled to Kenya on May 10, claiming that he had been tipped off that his life was in danger. Two journalists who stood surety for Kiwanuka, Nasser Ssebagala and the editor of the monthly Exposure Henry Mirima, were jailed for a week after Kiwanuka fled. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Kiwanuka and his family were granted asylum by the United States in August 1995 after an apparent attempt by Ugandan ESO agents to abduct him in Kenya.54

4 Andrea Useem, "A Human Rights Center in Uganda Combines Academics With Activism," Chronicle of Higher Education, July 3, 1998, p. A33.

5 Human Rights Watch interview, Kampala, April 7, 1998.

6 Non-Governmental Organizations Registration Statute (1989), Article 9.

7 Human Rights Watch interview with Sheila Kawamara, coordinator, Uganda Women's Network, Kampala, April 6, 1998.

8 Ibid.

9 Letter of Joni Kasigaire, secretary of the NGO Board, to the coordinator of National NGO Forum, dated March 19, 1998.

10 Letter of Joni Kasigaire, secretary of the NGO Board, to the coordinator of Uganda National NGO Forum, dated October 1, 1998.

11 Letter from Peter Ucanda, permanent secretary, office of the prime minister, to executive secretary of the NGO Forum, November 16, 1998.

12 Letter of F. B. Nshemeire, permanent secretary, office of the prime minister, to the coordinator of the NGO Forum, dated April 27, 1999.

13 Letter of Rauxen Zedriga, coordinator, NGO Forum, to the permanent secretary of the office of the prime minister, dated May 17, 1999.

14 Letter of J. Kisembo, inspector general of police, to chairperson of the National NGO Forum, dated May 27, 1999.

15 Email of Rauxen Zedriga to Human Rights Watch, dated June 2, 1999.

16 Human Rights Watch interview with UHEDOC source, Kampala, April 9, 1998.

17 Ibid.

18 The member organizations of NOCEM are: the Uganda Law Society, the Uganda Prisoners Aid Foundation, FIDA-Uganda, Action for Development, Uganda Journalists Association, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Uganda Human Rights Activists, Youth Alliance for Development and Cooperation, Islamic Information Centre, Federation for Professional and Business Women, Sustain Africa, and Uganda Community Based Child Association.

19 Human Rights Watch interview with J.K. Zirabamuzaale, chairperson, NOCEM, Kampala, April 15, 1998.

20 Akiiki B. Mujaju, "Civil Society at Bay in Uganda," p. 48.

21 Human Rights Watch interview with Sheila Kawamara, coordinator, Uganda Women's Network, Kampala, April 6, 1998.

22 Alfred Wasike, "Museveni Rejects Rebel Compromise," New Vision, June 20, 1998.

23 "No Ceasefire, Says Museveni," New Vision, July 22, 1998.

24 Nabusayi L. Wamboka, "Free Press Good For Society-Rugunda," Monitor, May 4, 1998, p. 28.

25 "Institute Shifts to Kampala," New Vision, May 7, 1998.

26 Press and Journalist Statute (no. 6 of 1995), section 10.

27 "Journalist Arrested, Charged with `Promoting Sectarianism,'" New Vision, December 20, 1998.

28 "Vision Scribe Grilled," New Vision, December 21, 1998.

29 "Police raid newspaper offices, arrest editor," New Vision, December 18, 1998; "Newspaper Editor, Opposition Leader Charged, Released on Bail," New Vision, December 19, 1998.

30 Letter of Ann K. Cooper, Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists, to President Yoweri Museveni, dated December 18, 1998.

31 "East African Media Official Expresses Concern About Journalists," Radio Uganda, December 19, 1998 (reported on BBC Monitoring).

32 Human Rights Watch interview with Ogen Kevin Aliro, Chief Sub-Editor of Monitor newspaper, November 14, 1998.

33 "CID Quizzes CBS' Muwonge for 4 Hours," Monitor, June 4, 1998; "CID Summons CBS' Muwonge," Monitor, June 3, 1998.

34 "Museveni Blasts Mengo over land," New Vision, June 2, 1998.

35 Peter Okello Jabweli, "Government Cautions CBS Radio," New Vision, May 20, 1998.

36 Alfred Wasike, "Land-Otafiire fears genocide," New Vision, May 11, 1998; "Minister warns private radios against inciting Rwanda-style violence," Radio Uganda, May 10, 1998, 17:00gmt.

37 "Journalists in Big Trouble Over Fool's Day Story," Monitor, April 23, 1998.

38 Joyce Namutebi, "Central Broadcasting Service Presenter Summoned for Questioning," New Vision, March 3, 1998.

39 "Journalists protest over `harsh bail' in Monitor case," East African, November 3, 1997.

40 "Obbo, Mwenda cash Shs 3.6m from Court," Monitor.

41 Pauline Mbabazi, "Monitor Gold Story Was Treasonable-Nagenda," New Vision, April 28, 1998.

42 "Monitor Editor Acquitted," New Vision, Feb. 17, 1999; "Ugandan journalists acquitted on false news charge," Agence France Presse, February 17, 1999.

43 Committee to Protect Journalists, "Henry Tumwine," Press Freedom Database (1997).

44 "Index-Index," Index on Censorship, May/June 1997.

45 U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Uganda Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997 (January 30, 1998).

46 Ibid.

47 Committee to Protect Journalists, "Journalist Peter Busiku charged with publishing `false news,'" December 6, 1996.

48 Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, "What Kabila is Hiding: Civilian Killings and Impunity in the Congo," A Human Rights Watch Short Report vol. 9, no. 5(A) (New York: Human Rights Watch, October 1997); John Pomfret, "Rwanda Planned and Led the Attack on Zaire," Washington Post, July 9, 1997.

49 U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Uganda Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997 (January 30, 1998).

50 "Detained Ugandan editor charged, but released on bail," Agence France Presse, April 20, 1995.

51 Edward Kizito, "Uganda arrests journalist on sedition charge," Reuters World Service, April 14, 1995.

52 "Police Arrest Editor of Ugandan Weekly," Agence France Presse, April 14, 1995. The NDA was a short-lived rebel group formed in the Buganda area in 1995 following the rejection of federalist and multipartyist proposals in the constituent assembly.

53 "Ugandan government fails to produce detained editor in court," Agence France Presse, April 18, 1995.

54 Committee to Protect Journalists, "Lawrence Kiwanuka," Press Freedom Database (1995).

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