18 April 2019

Uganda: Police, RDC Switch Off Radio Station in Attempt to Stop Besigye Talk Show

Mubende — Police in Mubende District in central Uganda on Thursday raided Mubende FM and switched it off in attempt to stop former Forum Democratic Change (FDC) president Dr Kizza Besigye from appearing on a live talk show.

"After 10mins on air, via 106 Mubende FM Radio, the Station was surrounded by heavily armed police officers and switched off from the mast! This is a repeat of what happened in Kabale and Jinja. In Mbarara, we couldn't even get to the radio. We're still inside," Dr Besigye tweeted on Thursday.

A few minutes to the talk show, police personnel under the command of Mubende District Police Mr Martin Okoyo descended on the station and pulled Dr Besigye from the studio. The talk show Minzani is aired between 10am to 11am and is hosted by Yusuf Kibalama.

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The station is housed within Pride Travelers Hotel where Dr Besigye is said to have spent the night.

"When the talk show started and Col Besigye greeted the listeners, the police and the RDC Ms Mary Nyakwela stormed the station and ordered that the talk show be stopped," Mr Patrick Amuriat, the FDC president also said.

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He said they had planned to talk to party members through the radio station and also hold two rallies-one at Mubende Mayor's Gardens and another in Kiganda Sub Country today.

"We really don't know police's intention to block us from speaking to our supporters. Is it a crime [to talk on radio]?" he asked

However, Mr Okoyo said Dr Besigye, a four-time presidential contender, was not expected in the area and his appearance on the talk show was intended to incite people.

"There is no cause for alarm here. We are simply preventing him from committing a crime. We hear they [FDC] are also planning to hold rallies in the area but as police, we were not informed about their plans so that we provide them with security and therefore, their rallies cannot go on," he said

In the past few weeks, the Opposition leader's appearance on local radio talk shows in Jinja and Kabaale districts have also been interrupted by police. On April 4, Security personnel switched off Hope Radio in Kabale municipality moments after hosting him.

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