According to information which came from 6 sources in Uganda, the journalists were thought to be going into Abim Hospital to do some work.
You will all remember that Abim Hospital was in the media a while back because one opposition leader, Dr. Besigye (FDC) was given a tour.
Dr. Besigye’s tour exposed the rot in that hospital to the point where international media picked up the story. All opposition was subsequently banned from going to hospitals, health centres, schools, worship places, etc.
The government gave the explanation that most of these places were being rehabilitated so it was not proper for the opposition to go in with media and take pictures and videos.
What is surprising was the BBC team trying to go into a place which is off bounds for even the opposition.
The BBC team is very experienced in covering issues in Africa and Uganda particularly but they did make a mistake to go to Abim.
According to David Ependu, the Abim District Police Commander, Kelvin Brown and Catherine Byaruhanga were picked up for acting unprofessionally and being unapologetic for their conduct.
He told URN that although the journalists claimed to have received authorisation from Ministry of Health in Kampala to film the hospital, they didn’t have any proof.
He said that the journalists later admitted that they didn’t have clearance from the ministry as permanent secretary Dr Asuman Lukwago had delayed to clear them.
Ependu argues that although journalists have a right to access information, there are some limitations.
He couldn’t explain which charges they have preferred against Brown and Byaruhanga, their fixer Sam Lawino and the driver who were detained at Abim Police station.
They were later released and an apology issued to them reportedly on orders of the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura.
Martha Leah Nangalama
The writer is an ardent follower of Uganda politcs.