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Charles Rwomushana Talks About His Detention Ordeal

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Speaking exclusively to Uganda Radio Network, Rwomushana said the issue of sectarianism never arose during his incarceration, insisting that the focus was on issues around the disappearance of Aine.
Charles Rwomushana spoke about his detention ordeal to URN

Audio 5

Former spy, Charles Rwomushana, has vowed not to buckle despite the charge of sectarianism slapped on him for circulating a photo of the purported body of Christopher Aine, the aide of independent presidential candidate, Amama Mbabazi.  

Rwomushana was picked up on Friday last week and was held in undisclosed location for four days. His arrest came after he shared the purported picture of Aine\'s body on his Facebook page following his disappearance, a month ago.

Aine disappeared after Police starting hunting for him and other supporters of Mbabazi, who is contesting as an independent presidential candidate, for allegedly assaulting NRM party members in Ntungamo district.

On Tuesday, after intense national debate and news reports about Rwomushana\'s arrest, he was charged with libel and promotion of sectarianism and was released on police bond.

Speaking exclusively to Uganda Radio Network, Rwomushana said the issue of sectarianism never arose during his incarceration, insisting that the focus was on issues around the disappearance of Aine. He said the sectarian law is oppressive, insisting that his is a fight for equity in Uganda.

//Cue in: I don\'t know …

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According to Section 41 of the Penal Code Act, sectarianism is the practice of degrading or exposing to hatred or contempt or disaffection for anyone on the basis of religion, tribe, ethnic or regional origin.

One commits the offence if he/she prints, publishes, makes or utters any statement or does any act which is likely to degrade, revile or expose to hatred or contempt or create alienation or despondency of or raise discontent or disaffection among or promote, in any other way, feelings of ill-will or hostility among or against, any group or body of persons on the afore-mentioned sectarian grounds. 

The offence carries a maximum punishment of five years\' imprisonment.

In one of his social media posts, Rwomushana made comments about people with a background of smearing houses with cow dung and eating ghee bringing that to the management of state affairs. Asked why he would make such a comment, Rwomushana said he is free to discuss anything and that the onus is on anyone opposed to offer a contrary view.

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Rwomushana wonders how a charge of sectarianism comes in the “Aine dead body” controversy. Section 41(2) of the Penal Code states that “if someone prints, publishes, makes or utters a statement that can be perceived to be promoting sectarian with a view to expose, discourage or eliminate matters, which promote or have a tendency to promote sectarianism”.

A tough speaking Rwomushana said the more public space is squeezed, the more those excluded will continue to rise up. According to Rwomushana, the best way out is to have a conversation on the country\'s direction.

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On his arrest and detention, Rwomushana revealed that his captors violently dumped him into his own car during, which he sustained a cut on the back of his right shoulder. He was arrested while on his way to a political talkshow on WBS Television.

Rwomushana said what he went through was, in his words, comfortable, because he was ready to pay the ultimate price. He insisted that he has no fear whatsoever for his life because to him dying and the shrinking of freedom are the same.

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He, however, declined to mention where he was detained, insisting that since the police have admitted to detaining him they should do so. Rwomushana said during interrogations, he stood his ground and that some officers, whom he also declined to name, agreed with him on the need to start looking critically at the country\'s future.

He said in order to stay strong, he also unleashed the Holy Rosary on his tormentors. For instance, said he, each time they came when very angry, the rosary softened them and they went back smiling. Another item that helped him was his smartphone.

According to Rwomushana, his jailers failed to switch it off and when they gave it to him to do so, he instead dialed his wife and put it in a mode that allowed his wife and other people hear what was being said including his location.

Rwomushana said he refused the food offered by his jailers till his wife was allowed to take for him food. On whether he has some doubt that the troublesome picture may not be Aine\'s, Rwomushana insisted that in his opinion Aine is dead.

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Rwomushana said even if the picture wasn\'t Aine\'s the law does not forbid publishing of false news. In 2004, following a constitutional appeal by journalists Charles Onyango Obbo and Andrew Mwenda, the Supreme Court struck down the offence of \'publishing false news\' as incompatible with the right to freedom of expression.