Hawah Namyalo, a victim of operations carried out by Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), Uganda Federation of Movie Industry (UFMI) and Uganda Police late last year, where they impounded movies and machines worth billions of shillings from movie distributors, committed suicide on Tuesday evening after days of financial stress, frustration and depression.
Namyalo and several other movie distributors in Zai Plaza, down town, Nakulabye, Kasubi and as far as Masanafu had their shops forcefully opened by security operatives and had their movies, duplicators, computers, flat screens and other equipments confiscated without any accountability and taken to police leaving their shops completely empty in an Operation that URSB claimed was to enforce copyright of western movies.
While trying to get her property back; Namyalo, who is a single mother of a two year old baby, was arrested, charged with infringing copyright and remanded to Luzira Prison where she spend close to three months.
Hawah Namyalo the dead lady
After being released a few days ago, Namyalo tried to get her assets so as to re-establish herself but officers from UMFI and URSB gave her a deaf ear. With nowhere to go, financial burden, depression, stress and anxiety, Namyalo chose to end her life by committing suicide.
In October 2019, URSB with its enforcement police raided several shops in Down Town Kampala confiscating movies saying that they have no certificate clearance from UMFI and therefore are illegally sold in Uganda in operation that claimed to put an end to selling of Western Movies in Uganda leaving Ugandans with no choice but to buy Ugandan made movies.
Movie distributors met with UMFI and URSB officials who advised them to get registered with association of Audio and Visual distributors and also to register with the UMFI and get a license allowing them to sell movies, a registration process that costs between 90,000 to 130,000 UGX. Movie distributors registered and received certificates hoping that this is the end of their woes.
Her Library after everything being taken
A few weeks later, URSB and UMFI officials with Police officers raided Zai Plaza a building located on Luwum Street Kampala confiscating movies, duplicators, printers, computers and all their equipments regardless of whether they had UMFI license or not. It was this raid that Namyalo Hawah’s shop was raided and she got arrested soon after.
Meetings that followed to harmonize the industry chaired by Major General Elly Kayanja personnel appointed by President Museveni to harmonize the Artisans Industry, both URSB and UFMI refused to send representatives despite being informed in time.
“As most of you might have got to know of the relentless moronic raids done by the above two bodies [URSB and UFMI) on Movie distributors last year, Hawah who was a single mother of a 2year old baby was one of the victims. Her shop located at Zai Plaza in Kampala was all shamelessly raided ‘clean’ with her capital worth millions and millions all lost at once and her imprisoned too.” VJ Junior one of the key players in the movie publishing and distributors in Uganda said during his eulogy to Hawah whom he recognized as his selling agent.
It’s not yet clear how the hostilities between government body URSB working with UFMI against movie distributors will end since they have failed to come to any agreeable terms.