Okot Geoffrey, a journalist working with Choice FM in Gulu district Northern Uganda has opened up an assault case at Gulu Central Police station against Aruu Member of Parliament Honorable Odongo Otto
Otto is accused of assaulting Okot on 16th June 2019 who had gone to cover a football match between Acholi Province and West Nile, which was organized by FUFA at Pece War Memorial stadium.
The journalists had convened at a point reserved for them by the football authorities.
However, before the match could start, spectators moved close to the pitch, prompting some area leaders that included among others Hon. Odonga Otto, Hon. Gilbert Olanya, Hon. Anthony Akol to move in to restrain them.
Surprisingly, Okot says, Hon Otto moved to the area where the journalists were and punched him in the neck.
He says he tried to explain that he was a journalist but the Member of Parliament could not stop beating him up.
“From nowhere, Odonga Otto punched me around the neck and the back until I knelt down. I explained to him that I am a journalist but he was arrogant. He said he doesn’t care because I am a journalist from a fake media house,” Okot told HRNJ-Uganda.
The reporter says he is experiencing a lot of pain and is expected to meet an orthopedic at Gulu Referral Hospital for further management.
Okot’s narrative was corroborated by Willy Ochwoo, a fellow journalist who was at the scene.
“We were about 20 journalists accredited by FUFA Drum organisers to cover the match. In the area where we were squatting, spectators had drone close to the pitch forcing the area members of parliament to push them backwards. Okot was squatting at the extreme end where the journalists had convened. From nowhere, Hon. Odonga Otto punched him on the back and the neck,” Chowoo told HRNJ-Uganda.
Okot opened up an assault case at Gulu Central Police Station vide 50/16/06/2019.
Regional Spokesperson for Aswa Region, Jimmy Okema said he hadn’t obtained details of the case but promised to respond soon.
HRNJ-Uganda Executive Director, Robert Ssempala termed as “disheartening” the fact that an area Member of Parliament who is expected to be exemplary to the people he leads beat up a journalist.
“We condemn such actions in the strongest terms. We implore the Uganda Police to expeditiously handle the matter so that the journalist gets justice.”