“We will crush you,” Ugandan president’s son warns journalists
In tweets earlier this week that were later deleted, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s son, Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, threatened to “crush” journalists who “abuse” him. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by his alarming comments and points out that the right to report news and information is essential in a democracy.
“For some of those journalists that like to abuse us… let me say nobody will protect you when we come to power,” Muhoozi said in a tweet posted on 5 December, adding: “You will feel us soon. We will crush you.”
The former commander of land forces of the Uganda People’s Defence Force, Muhoozi currently holds the position of senior presidential advisor on special operations and is seen as a potential successor to his father, who is on RSF’s list of press freedom predators.
In a tweet earlier the same day, which like the second one was later deleted. Muhoozi singled out journalists working for the Daily Monitor, the country’s most popular newspaper. He accused them of being “terrorists (...) that have been abusing us forever” and threatening to deal with them if they don’t stop.
“In a country marred by too many attacks on press freedom, these serious threats from a high-ranking general endangering the safety of journalists are unacceptable. We remind Muhoozi Kainerugaba that journalism is not a crime. The right to report the news and provide an independent interpretation of the news is essential in a democracy.”
Tony Glencross, the managing director of the Daily Monitor’s owner, the Nation Media Group, which is East and Central Africa’s biggest independent media group, responded to Muhoozi by tweeting: “Daily Monitor journalists are not terrorists. They are upstanding, honest and patriotic Ugandans (...) A free press is a cornerstone of democracy.”
Many journalists have been tortured in the past by the Special Forces Command (SFC), an elite military unit that protects the first family including Muhoozi, who has himself been the unit’s commander twice, from 2008 to 2017 and from 2020 to 2021.
Uganda is ranked 132nd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2022 World Press Freedom Index.