NBS Television news anchor and investigate reporter, Solomon Sserwanja, has vowed never to stop exposing evils in government sectors in an attempt to protect the interests of the public.
He was addressing journalists at the Central Police Station (CPS) in Kampala, on Friday, just moments after recording a statement on the government sealed drugs allegedly found at his home on Wednesday. The operation by security operatives also saw his wife, Vivian, other three BBC journalists and their driver arrested.
According to Police, Sserwanja initially failed to turn up at CPS despite their efforts to have him. He would later on Friday morning report, alongside NBS TV’s head of news, Joyce Bagala, for a statement.
Solomon said he and his colleagues have for sometime been working on an investigative story that is supposed to “expose the curtails behind stealing government drugs.”
Now, he says, there are millions of Ugandans suffering and dying because of shortage drugs in government facilities, not because the drugs are not provided, but instead, they are stolen by greedy government officials.
He as well watered down demands by Police for jornalists to inform security, before conducting their investigative stories.
“As the fourth estate, it is our right, it is our job to do this and all we need is support. I don’t think we necessarily need to inform the police because we are an independent body that needs to act independently and we have to do our job because we have a role to play. We have a society to protect,” Sserwanja said.
“Whereas there are very many people in the city centre who have insurance, who go to the biggest hospitals in this country and men and women who just call and go for surgery just like that, there are very many other people who are living in rural areas who walk kilometres to go to access medical facilities and drugs,” he added.
“And once they have walked there, there are no drugs. And it is not that the government doesn’t provide these drugs, but it is because there are individuals out there who are actually selling these drugs,” Sserwanja explained.
The seemingly unshaken Sserwanja said that journalists ought never to shy away from exposing the wrongs in government since society looks onto them.
“As journalists and the fourth estate, it is our right, it is your job to do something about securing the future of this country. Stop looking on government alone, what are you doing about it, government drugs are being stolen,” he said.
He explained that “when evil becomes the new normal, and we all keep quiet, then our society erodes down the abyss and the future of our generation remains blurry.”
On the arrest of his wife, Vivian Sserwanja, who also works as the Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Health, Sserwanja said that she (Vivian) was arrested on allegations she had no idea about.
“She didn’t even know about what I was doing because I don’t always share everything with her especially when it is work related. We try to draw a line between my work as a journalist and her job of the PRO for the Ministry,” he said.
He says her job is now in balance yet she is actually innocent about what he (Solomon) was doing. He thus asked the Ministry to disregard any allegations of drug theft against her.
Meanwhile, Solomon and wife plus other three BBC journalists and their driver, were on Friday morning released on Police bond and will report back to Police on March 12.
They face charges of illegal possession of classified government contrary to section 27(2) of the National Drugs Authority Cap 206.