The Chief Editor of online news publication, ‘The Investigator’, Stanley Ndawula has reportedly been kidnapped and his whereabouts remain unknown.
Reports say that Ndawula was picked up Friday Night while he was at Yaya Lounge along Bukoto street in Kamwokya, near Kampala.
According to a post written by The Investigator on Saturday, an employee of Yaya Lounge which is owned by Ndawula, he was arrested by men wearing what appeared to be army uniform and green caps.
“He was thrown into the vehicle in which they had come, a Toyota Hilux which sped off up Bukoto Street,” the post on Facebook read.
The post further stated; “As of now, Stanley’s location and reason for arrest are unknown. We hope to know more soon #releaseStanleyNdawulaInvestigator”.
The Uganda Human Rights Network for Journalists (UHRNJ) also reported the arrest of Ndawula.
“The CEO of the Investigator, Ndawula Stanley was last night kidnapped by unknown people at around midnight as he left a joint in Bukoto, Kampala. It is alleged he was arrested by ISO operatives. It’s not known why he was arrested,” UHRNJ stated.
When SoftPower News sought a comment from Police as to whether Ndawula was picked up by Police, Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, ASP Luke Owoyesigyire said he had no information relating to any such arrest.
“I haven’t heard any such report. I have only heard it from you. I will need to check and see if anybody has reported case of a missing person,” ASP Luke Owoyesigyire said on Saturday.
A source who is part of the newly formed Independent Online Journalists Association (INDOJA), a body that brings together numerous online news publications in Uganda revealed to SoftPower News that Ndawula’s arrest is likely to be connected to an exposé he was yet to release about the Internal Security Organization (ISO) and its ‘illegal’ dealings.
The source who preferred anonymity said that three days prior to Ndawula’s arrest, Ndawula had shared information in the Association’s WhatsApp group about a certain ISO -run safe house in Kyengera which some suspects had revealed chilling stories about.
The source says that Ndawula intended to initiate a series of stories to expose the said safehouse and how ISO has been working with criminal elements in utter abuse of the law. The arrest of Ndawula, it is suspected, was therefore calculated to prevent him from releasing the dossier, the source said.
Last year in October, Ndawula and another reporter of the same media outlet named Robert Ndawula were arrested over charges relating to offensive communication.
He was later charged in court with disturbing the peace of former Police boss, Gen. Kale Kayihura, now in detention.
According to the charge sheet by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mike Chibita, the two were accused of having an intent to defame the IGP in an article in which it was purported that the police boss was murdering his own officers.
Ndawula’s publication had consistently undertaken deep rooted investigations exposing the ‘dark dealings’ of the police apparatus in its operations. Some of the revelations had pinned senior officers for aiding unlawful and off-the-books activities, some criminal.
Prior to his 2017 arrest, Stanley Ndawula had raised an alarm alleging that some one in the police was threatening him.
Others fear that his latest abduction could be part of a campaign by criminal elements especially those he was against during the tenure of Gen Kayihura, who are against the efforts to dismantle criminal networks that used to work with Police.
It also remains unclear whether some of the same wrong elements that used to aid Kayihura’s alleged criminal operations could have hoodwinked ISO as informants only to undertake hideous actions to undermine the institution or get back to those who exposed them.
ISO is leading investigations into alleged crimes for which, it is believed, Gen Kale Kayihura was placed in military custody in Makindye Barracks. It was alleged that Gen Kayihura had a hand in the ‘death of former police spokesperson of Police’, AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
However, Kayihura’s lawyers recently addressed a press conference at which they said that ISO was concocting evidence against Gen Kayihura. Ndawula’s family and friends are scared that his life could be in danger.