Politics

Bobi Wine heartbroken over ‘crippled’ journalist Akena

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James Akena in wheelchair

Kyadondo
East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine has spoken out on the plight of Reuters
journalist James Akena who is currently in a wheelchair after being brutally
beaten by soldiers.

“The
story of James Akena, an award winning photo-journalist with Reuters is very
painful,” Bobi Wine said.

For
covering the “Free Bobi Wine” protests last year, Akena was brutally clobbered
by the military.

“By
men wearing our uniform and bearing our national flag! His pleas that he was
only a journalist doing his job landed on deaf ears as he was flogged by men
who we pay to protect us! What did these men have against him?” Bobi Wine
wondered.

He
added: “What did he do to them to deserve that cruel, inhumane treatment? To
see him now confined to a wheel chair is heart wrenching. More than a year
later, not a single person has been brought to account for this criminal act.”

“Countrymen
and women, this is what our struggle us about. We must end the wanton abuse of
authority and restore the respect for human rights in our country.”

Journalism
is not a crime, he maintained, adding that never should any Ugandan be treated
in this manner by the state.

“Never should anyone violate citizens’ rights and go scot free. To you my brother James Akena, I wish you would recover and continue doing photography, about which you’re immensely passionate!”

“Finally their brutality last August lands me on a wheelchair,” Akena wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday, October 03, 2019.

Akena

While
covering protests against the arrest and detention of Bobi Wine on August 20,
2018, Akena was clobbered by soldiers in Kiseka Market.

Akena
has now filed an application before the Civil Division of the High court
through his lawyers of AF Mpanga seeking damages to the tune of Shs100m.

 “The plaintiff (Akena) was repeatedly struck
on various parts of his body by the three men, arrested, rough bundled onto a
truck which drove the plaintiff and others to Qualicel Bus Terminal while they
continued to be assaulted physically and verbally,” says the application.

Akena
wants Shs3.9m for lost cash, Shs450,000 for his damaged Casio watch, Shs800,000
for broken eyeglasses and Shs1.2m for a cracked Techno smartphone.

He
also wants Shs28m for loss of Canon Camera DX Black Body type, Shs700,000 for
medical treatment, Shs600,000 for transport to and from hospitals, loss of
earnings because of failure to work from the months of September 2018 to
February 2019 valued at $2,900 per month – totalling to Shs65m.

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