Grapevine online Publications journalist, Dickson Mubiru, has been arrested.
Kampala Metropolitan Deputy Police Spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire, says Mubiru is currently being held at the Kira Division Police station.
According to Owoyesigyire, Mubiru was arrested “due to allegations of defamation against Mr Hamis Kiggundu”.
“We will extract his statement regarding the allegations and have him released on bond while investigations continue,” he added.
Social media reports had claimed that Mubiru was arrested for “putting a question to President Museveni about the ongoing abductions” during the recent journalists’ engagement with the president at State House.
The reports even claimed that the scribe is accused of “annoying the first family”.
State House denies
Sandor Walusimbi, the Senior Presidential Press Secretary to the President, in a Friday, December 30, 2022 statement, dismissed the allegations as false.
“The Presidential Press Unit (PPU) wishes to inform the General Public that the arrest of journalist Mr Dickson Mubiru of Grapevine Online and Ono ye Bwiino has nothing to do with the First Family or State House,” Walusimbi stated.
He added: “Rather, the arrest arises from a complaint filed by Mr Hamis Kiggundu, according to Kira Division Police DPC, SP Senyonjo Abbas. Journalists and social media users should always crosscheck before publishing anything. Factual reporting is the bedrock of responsible journalism and social media use.”
In a statement, SSP Patrick Onyango, the PRO Kampala Metropolitan Police, said Mubiru was arrested on allegations of criminal defamation.
According to Onyango, a general inquiry file was opened at Kiira Division to investigate allegations that Mubiru defamed Hamis Kiggundu in his various publications.
“Mr Mubiru was informed about the allegations/charges and he agreed to settle the matter amicably with the complainant. He met the complainant and the Detectives who were investigating the case. The complainant agreed that he would withdraw the case on the advice of the Police. The detectives advised that since the complainant made a statement to Police, Mr Mubiru’s statement also is recorded,” Onyango said.
“Mr Mubiru agreed to report to the police but later changed his mind. Police have been trying to trace him until today when he was arrested. The allegations that the reason for his arrest is a result of asking the president a question in a recent media engagement are not true.”
He added: “Uganda Journalists Association should not drag the name of the president in Mr Mubiru’s case. Mr Mubiru’s statement will be recorded and the file will be submitted to State Attorney for perusal and legal advice.”