Journalist narrates circumstances at Pearl of Africa as Chaka Chaka - National | NTV

Journalist narrates circumstances at Pearl of Africa as Chaka Chaka is deported

Wednesday January 1, 2020

 

Although I had no invite or appointment with South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka at her hotel room in Pearl of Africa Hotel where she had been staying as she prepared to perform at the Enkuka yomwaka show taking place at Kabaka’s palace, in Mengo, Kampala, I did not think there would be much of a problem accessing her.

So I set off from the office on a Boda Boda and was not anxious, neither did I anticipate any trouble. We arrived at the hotel using Nakasero road near State House and All Saints Cathedral. I went through the routine check before I continued to the hotel.

I should have noticed the vigilant officers and the parked patrol cars right from the gate of the hotel but I was engrossed in trying to figure out how I could access the room where Chaka Chaka was so I did not notice anything unusual.


The next thorough check was at the gate. Luckily for me, I didn’t carry any bag or camera so I was allowed to proceed easily. I also concealed my identity as a journalist.


When I reached the final check point, I was asked for my identification after another vigorous check. I had only my work ID in my pocket and that is when hell broke loose.

“Where are you going? If you are a journalist, please leave this place before you are noticed by the security,” one of the guards whispered to me. I had not noticed the gravity of the situation until this point.


The guards looked tense, they fidgeted with whatever they were doing as if they were under surveillance themselves.


As we held this short conversation while assessing how the situation was, a three-star police officer came from the back towards us. The guards alerted me not to panic and to stay put before the hovering officer could suspect anything.


“Afande we are trying to assess this regular visitor of ours because we don’t want him to be under any threat,” the guard announced to the officer. You could hear a slight tremor in his voice.

“Go ahead but he should be careful,” the officer replied before he left.


“Two journalists whom we had earlier stopped from entering were arrested and whisked away and we don’t know where they have been taken. That is why we are telling you, please help yourself. We have already protected you please,” the female guard explained in a faint voice.

Just like that, I aborted my mission to meet the artiste as I risked being arrested considering what the guards had told me.


Rumour had spread across different media platforms that the celebrated artiste had been blocked from performing at the annual event organised by Buganda kingdom and was facing deportation any time and no journalist was allowed to film or write about the saga.


As I walked down the stairs of the hotel, I saw many officers both army and police guarding the premises; it was even harder to take any pictures at this point.


Asked to give a comment about why there was high security deployment at the hotel, Uganda People’s Defense Forces spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire said that they had deployed because of a police function that was happening at the place.


“We are always conscious of security and that is why we are there. I don’t know why you were blocked but you could crosscheck with the security manager at that place,” he said.


At 4:30pm, the spokesperson of police, Fred Enanga released an audio statement saying that Chaka Chaka had been escorted back to Entebbe International Airport by the police and boarded the next plane to South Africa through Rwanda.