MP Odonga Otto accused of assaulting a journalist

Aruu county MP Odonga Otto is in trouble over allegations of assaulting a journalist during a football match at Pece Stadium in Gulu at the weekend.

The youthful legislator allegedly punched Geoffrey Okot, a journalist working with Choice FM in Gulu district northern Uganda.

Okot together with his fellow journalists were set to cover a football match between Acholi Province and West Nile Province organized by Federation of Uganda Foot Ball Association (FUFA) Drum 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 the area leaders that included among others MPs Odonga, Gilbert Olanya (Kilak South) and Anthony Akol (Kilak North) to push them away so as to create space.

Surprisingly, Otto moved to the area where the journalists had convened and punched Okot on the back and around the neck.

“I was squatting at the stadium with my fellow colleagues waiting for the match to begin. 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 said, adding that he is experiencing a lot of pain and is expected to meet an orthopedic at Gulu Referral Hospital for further management.

Okot in hospital

Okot’s narrative is 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 said.

Okot opened up an assault case at Gulu Central Police Station vide 50/16/06/2019 and is yet to record a statement.

When contacted, the Regional Spokesperson for Aswa Region, Jimmy Okema said that he was yet to get details about the incident.

“I have not got details about that concern because the Deputy IGP was around and we spent the whole of yesterday traversing the region. I am also getting concern from some journalists trying to inquire about the same incident. But if i get the details, I will let you know,” said, Okema.

‘It is so disheartening that an 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.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda Executive Director, Robert Ssempala.