Army Raid: Film Operators Cry Foul

Written by: 
Deograthius Zerongo


Film distributors in Uganda under their umbrella body ‘Association of Film Practitioners Uganda Limited’ have condemned the act of the army raiding their shops last week.

Vj Junior, the chairperson of the association, says that army raiding their shops was uncalled for.

“We are law abiding citizens, we do not go for strikes, we are not gangsters, and we are not thieves. But, we are youths who open up our shops to earn a living,” he said.

He made the remarks at a press conference held on Tuesday, at Zai Plaza in Kampala, the same venue of the raid by security forces.

Last week, the joint forces of police and the Uganda People’s Defence Forces raided Zai Plaza and confiscated stock worth millions of money.  Stock grabbed includes; movie discs, computers, and duplicators. Over 50 youths were directly affected in this operation that was aimed at grabbing alleged illegal foreign films sold in the country.

Frank Ntambi, a victim of the operation blamed this on the Uganda Federation of Movie Industry (UFMI) and cried for help from anti-corruption unit to investigate UFMI.

“ We do call upon Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema with your anti-graft unit team to go at UFMI offices, look through their books and see how they have stolen a lot of money from us,” he said.

However, Jane Nambasa, the chief executive officer, UFMI which is responsible for regulating Ugandan films coined ‘Ebinnayuganda’, said the move was aimed at protecting local content from competition from the foreign content.

“Foreign movies are sold here illegally, no one gives vee jays or video libraries permission to download, add voice to, and distribute them here,” she said.

The federation believes that Ugandan movies are struggling to have a reasonable market share due to stiff competition from movies smuggled into the country. She adds that the constitution of Uganda grants them with powers to protect local content from any form of infringements.

The operation came after, a senior army officer, Maj General Elly Kayanja, warned those distributing or aiding the distribution of foreign movies in Uganda that it is illegal and it’s now time for government to start enforcing the law enacted in 2006.

In 2006, parliament passed the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act to repeal and replace the Copyright Act of 1964. The 2006 legislation provides for the protection of literary, scientific and artistic intellectual works and their neighbouring rights.

Photo by Annah Nafula