A Ugandan Journalist is seeking asylum after threats on his life following links to the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) fighting to topple the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government.
Sources in London say Bukedde Televison News Reporter and Anchor Mr Hussein Mukiibi Wasswa, who went to London ,United Kingdom to cover an international sports championship, is now wanted by security agencies.
A family source that preferred to remain anonymous said during the time Mukiibi practiced journalism in Uganda he was always an independent minded media practitioner. He was a silent supporter of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) despite working for a government company.
When the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party was founded in 2020 he embraced it and has since been seen vehemently promoting the new party among the enterprising young generation. However government is now linking Mr Mukiibi to ADF rebels now fighting to overthrow President Yoweri Museveni.
During the turbulent times of 2015 to 2016 when mainly Muslim youths were being rounded up and arrested with links to subversive activities of the rebel Allied Democratic Forces, Mr Mukiibi started receiving threats.
A relative who sought anonymity told the Workers Eye that twice Mr Mukiibi was threatened with anonymous people claiming to be Local Council security officials and accusing Mr Mukiibi of being a sympathizer of the ADF rebels.
But during campaigns for the 2016 Uganda General elections Mr Mukiibi is reported to have been arrested twice, as he went shopping near home and one evening when he left his Vision offices.
In one of the raids on the home of Mr Mukiibi, the journalist was brutally arrested and detained in Police cells on alleged involvement in subversive activities.
But the journalist is not the first to be arrested, detained and implicated in ADF rebel activities just like other Muslims in the country who have been detained on fabricated charges and implicated in killings of prominent people. Mr Mukiibi and other youthful muslims facing similar accusations, has come out to deny the accusations as untrue, baseless and unfounded.
At the height of massive arrests of muslim youths between 2016 and 2017 Mr Mukiibi lived under tension, fear and uncertainty on his life as clamping down of you by security agencies continued on suspected ADF elements.
Mr Mukiibi is said to have weighed in on the fraught political moment and decided to shift his efforts towards advocacy for civil education, human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance.
“It came as a golden chance for him to cover the 2017 world athletics championship in London where Ugandan athletes were featuring,” said a reliable source.
But the source added that to his consternation when he reached London and reported sports stories on Bukedde Television and Bukedde newspaper his detractors at home claimed he had gone to London to meet ADF rebels.
As a result the Local Council officials in the area with support from Local Defence units raided and ransacked his Namasuba residence reportedly in search for arms which in reality were non – existent.
When Mr Mukiibi returned to Uganda in August, 2017 from UK where he had gone to cover the IAAF World Athletics Championships, he was arrested by the army and detained for nine weeks in Kololo.
“ It became clear his detractors were determined to send him to prison. He had no option but make swift arrangements to fly out of the country.” said a relative.
It is not clear how Mr Mukiibi left the country for the UK where he sought asylum. The journalist left behind a wife and children who have since gone into hiding for fear of their lives.
He has since joined progressives forces in the diaspora to promote human rights and social justice through National Unity Platform (NUP) UK
Chapter, according to messages on his facebook page.
Mr Mukiibi was part of the demonstrations by Ugandans in the United Kingdom opposing President Yoweri Museveni’s re-election, violation of human rights, and abductions of NUP supporters by state agents in the dreaded drones. Two of his relatives were last December kidnapped and detained in unknown location for six months for supporting opposition NUP.
Earlier, the Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) member, was a sympathizer of the opposition FDC party before crossing to the People Power pressure group which later became National Unity Platform.
The biggest problem youths with divergent views face today is uncertainty about their security and safety in Uganda as youths continue to be picked up a detained and tortured while others die under mysterious circumstances.