Uganda: Journalists face treason charges over Museveni ‘Rwanda coup’ story

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Three journalists in Uganda are facing charges of treason after a story was published that claimed President Yoweri Museveni is planning to overthrow the government in neighbouring Rwanda.

The journalists, who work for newspaper Red Pepper, were charged with five directors of the Peper Publications group. The entire group has been charged with treason, making offensive comments and disturbing the peace of President Yoweri Museveni and other individuals implicated in the story.

Journalists face treason charges

“According to the charge and caution statement read to them, they will be charged with offensive communication, disturbing the peace of president Museveni, Salim Saleh and Security Minister Henry Tumukunde. The main charge preferred against them is treason,” one of the group’s lawyers told local news publication, the Daily Monitor.

The three journalists have been identified as Ben Byarabaha (Managing Editor), Richard Kintu (News Editor) and Francis Tumusiime (also News Editor). They are currently being held at a prison facility awaiting trial, along with the directors.

Museveni implicated in news story

On Monday, November 20, the Red Pepper published a story entitled M7 [Museveni] plotting to overthrow Kagame – Rwanda. Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs swiftly denied the claims made in the story, writing it off as a reproduction of an article ran in Rwandan publication Rushyashya.

Ministry permanent secretary, Ambassador Patrick Mugoya, said the two countries are currently enjoying strong and cordial relations. He described the publications as “mischievous at best, irresponsible at worst and meant to sow discord between our two nations.”

Featured image: By Chatham House – Yoweri Museveni, President, Uganda, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26223687

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.