Kyadondo East Legislator Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine has spoken out on the plight of Reuters journalist James Akena who is currently confined to a wheelchair after being brutally beaten by soldiers dressed in UPDF Uniform.
In a face book post, Bobi wine noted that the story of James Akena, an award winning photo-journalist with Reuters is very painful adding that for covering the “Free Bobi Wine” protests last year, Akena was brutally clobbered by the military and is now confined to a wheel chair.
“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.
Bobi wine said that Akena did not deserve to be treated inhumanely and seeing him confined in a wheel chair is heart breaking and not even a single person has been brought to account for their acts for Akena to get justice.
Bobi wine who sounded disturbed maintained that Journalism is not a crime adding that injustices such as this is what the People Power Struggle is about. He added that as Ugandans we must end the wanton abuse of authority and restore the respect for human rights in our country.
Akena was beaten by UPDF soldiers while covering protests against the arrest and detention of Bobi Wine on August 20, 2018 in down town Kampala.
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.
Akena seeks compensation worth Shs.3.9m for lost cash, Shs. 450,000 for his damaged Casio watch, Shs. 800,000 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 totaling to a tune of Shs.65m.
“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,” reads part of the application.