by Leroy Moore, Krip Hop Nation
On Friday, Aug. 10, Ronald Muwanga, commonly called Ronnie Ronnie, a member of Krip Hop Nation Worldwide and founder of the Krip Hop chapter in Uganda, was arrested, beaten and tortured with a colleague, Herbert Zziwa, he works with at NTV Uganda, a national television station.
The duo was covering the scene where a driver for a Member of Parliament was shot dead by presidential security personnel. According to reliable sources, the duo was later grabbed into a security van where they were again tortured, their hands and legs tied together with three other detainees on one rope. Among them was the Member of Parliament for Mityana, Francis Zaake.
Ronnie Ronnie with his colleague were driven around the town of Arua for four hours before being taken to Arua police station where they joined another batch of people arrested, including another two Members of Parliament. At around 1 a.m., the detainees, who included a mother and her baby, were put on a police truck and transferred to Gulu, a distance of over 150 km. Pressure on police by fellow journalists, human right activists, organizations and the media led to their release on bond.
According to Uganda police, Ronnie Ronnie and his colleague were arrested by mistake, which the general public in Uganda denies, saying the security personnel did not want the events of the shooting to be covered, and that’s the reason they arrested the journalists. Meanwhile, during the torture, says Ronnie Ronnie, “I tried to tell security personnel that I am a journalist and disabled, but that did not yield any protection.”
The arrest incident took place on Monday, which was the last day for the campaigns to replace the slain Member of Parliament, Ibrahim Abiriga, who was shot dead by unknown gunmen while driving back to his home.
During the torture, says Ronnie Ronnie, “I tried to tell security personnel that I am a journalist and disabled, but that did not yield any protection.”
Ronnie Ronnie appealed to Afande Emilian Kayima and Afande Omara with the Uganda police public relations office to direct their colleagues who took their valuables, including money, a Canon 1300 camera, shoes and phones, to return them. The shoes and money are at Arua police station while the camera and phones are with the Security Forces Command (SFC). They must be delivered to the head office of television station NTV at Serena.
Ronnie Ronnie is at home healing from this incident.
Leroy F. Moore Jr., poet, researcher, journalist and activist, founder of Krip-Hop Nation and founding member of the National Black Disability Coalition, can be reached at Kriphopnation@gmail.com.