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Minister Tumwebaze, Ambassador Malac Exchange Bitterly over Detention of Red Pepper Bosses

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Uganda’s ICT and National Guidance minister and US ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac have been engaged in a bitter exchange over press freedom in Uganda.

Malac’s tweet, about Uganda Press Photo Awards Book Launch, referred to the recent arrest and detention of Red Pepper editors and directors.

Last month, police arrested the eight Red Pepper staff over a story that claimed Uganda’s three-decade president Yoweri Museveni was planning to topple Rwanda’s Paul Kagame.

Government has since denied Museveni is plotting Kagame’s overthrow.

Police would later search Red Pepper offices and close them tabloid.

Court has charged the publication’s directors and editors with disturbing Museveni’s peace.

On Tuesday, court denied the Red Pepper staff bail after prosecution said their release would jeopardise national security.

Local activists have condemned the continued detention of the staff.

And so have international actors, including the US.


The tweef started when Ambassador Malac tweeted that the press in Uganda was under assault.

“Great time attending the Uganda Press Photo Awards Book Launch. Opportunity for the media community and supporters to come together to support #FreedomOfThePress, which is under assault in #Uganda. @UPPAward #UPPABookLaunch,” Malac tweeted Wednesday.

But Tumwebaze fired back at Malac, attacking US president Donald Trump for being a worse violator of press freedom.

“Not as worse as in your own country where your President can’t even tolerate questions from critical journalists at a press conference. Put your own house in order first and then try to help others,” replied Tumwebaze.

In January, Trump denied CNN’s Jim Accosta a chance to ask him during a presser. Trump kept referring to CNN as a fake news house.



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