Red Pepper reopens, back on streets with a bang

Outside the offices of Redpepper publications

Red Pepper Uganda is resuming operations, two months after it was closed by government for writing a story prejudicial to the security of the country.

‏”Hello Uganda, this to inform you all that Red Pepper, Kamunye and Entatsi newspapers will be printed and distributed for sale across Uganda again starting on MONDAY, January 29 2018,” management said in a message.

It added: “Buy copies of your favourite newspapers from all news vendors & supermarkets. Thanks y’all.”

According to reports, the reopening of the newspaper follows a pardon from President Yoweri Museveni, the subject of the story that claimed Kampala wanted to overthrow Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

A subcommittee comprising of ministers David Bahati and Chris Baryomunsi, met and reached a compromise with Red Pepper directors, a few weeks ago.

Victoria University

A cabinet committee headed by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda sat in early January 2018 to deliberate on the matter.

Later, Rugunda personally engaged President Museveni who expressed his desire to first meet company directors who nearly spent Christmas in Luzira prison.

According to a statement by one of the directors, Arinaitwe Rugyendo, the government agreed to allow The Red Pepper and its sister publications resume business.

After a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni at State House Entebbe, Tuesday night, His Excellency pardoned the Company Directors and its Senior Editors and promised to immediately order the police to vacate the Pepper head office at Namanve and return all confiscated electronic equipment to the company.

The meeting followed both formal and informal protracted negotiations with senior government officials and individuals which commenced when the police stormed the Red Pepper offices on November 21 last year and closed down the publication, sending its five directors and three senior editors to prison for a month.

The closure and subsequent prosecution of the paper’s senior officials, followed a publication the previous day of a lead story that the state said was prejudicial to national security and that of the region.

During the meeting at State House Entebbe, H.E the President warned the Directors and Editors to stop being reckless and become more professional in the course of their reporting.

He immediately ordered his staff to give each of the 8 officials copies of a revised edition of his autobiography, *Sowing the Mustard Seed* and a booklet containing a lecture he gave during the marking of Nelson Mandela’s Day at Makerere University last year, to sharpen their ideological awareness.

The Directors and Senior Editors pledged to the President and the nation, a more transformed and professional publication going forward.

As the formal process to reopen the newspaper that has been under police siege for two months gets underway, the ground is now set for The Red Pepper, Uganda’s most influential newspaper, to hit the streets.