By Charles Kamya Ssentamu
The Museveni regime will stop at nothing to suppress representatives of the people, more so when he perceives them a threat to his decades-long misrule.
The latest is the unjust arrest of opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, who was this Monday committed to the notorious Luzira Maximum Security Prison.
Kyagulanyi, who had been arrested on his way to CIID offices in the Kibuli neighborhood could not have imagined, even with the brutality this regime has extended to him in the past, that he would end up in prison the way he did.
Mr. Kyagulanyi had been summoned by the police on some frivolous charges, namely that he had staged an unauthorized meeting last November.
Like any law abiding citizen, the lawmaker attempted to drive to Kibuli to answer the summons. He was to be joined by his colleagues, among them him sureties, in case they were to be needed. According to MP Asumani Basalirwa, one of his lawyers, they already had five sureties – all MPs – with all necessary requirements to be that.
Little did they know that the regime already had its own plans.
Not only was the legislator immediately moved to Naggalama another police station; efforts were not spared to frustrate his colleagues who were on their way to join him.
Shortly after arriving at Naggalama, an impromptu court hearing was improvised at Buganda Road, where a magistrate was already waiting by the time they got him there.
Talk of kangaroo courts but this one takes the cake, remarked an observer.
Within minutes, Kyagulanyi was produced before the magistrate and charged, with the authorities knowing full well that his friends and colleagues would not in any way be there in time to bail him out. The colleagues were harassed in all ways possible just to make sure they arrived at court after the magistrate had hammered her gavel, committing the legislator to Luzira.
Kyagulanyi was then deceived he was being taken to Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) to record another statement. That turned out to be a ruse.
Kyagulanyi is being charged with unlawful assembly rather than the peaceful demonstration that involved thousands of youths that were enraged by the draconian taxation law.
The Museveni regime knows that the youth, who have suffered most in the 33 years of Museveni misrule, only had one platform left to vent their frustration, and that is social media.
This rubbed the regime the wrong way, as the man continues to lose his grip on power; yet he now feels Uganda is his personal property.
Kyagulanyi’s predicament did not start with the social media tax, however. His problems began ever since he showed Museveni that he is a force to reckon with.
The unlawful assembly charges are just part of ongoing attempts to lock him out of political competition due mainly to the way he has awakened Ugandans to the excesses of this regime.
It is just a few months ago that the legislator was beaten to pulp and wheeled into a military courtroom in Gulu on a wheelchair, having suffered indescribable torture at the hands of Museveni’s unruly Special Forces Command (SFC).
The SFC planting guns and all sorts of contraband in his room to pin him. His suffering at the hands of the brutal regime did not end there.
Very recently, he was made to lose hundreds of million in shillings when his Easter Monday musical show was cancelled by police, even after they had initially given him the green light.
Frightened of the reprisal from his mammoth supporters who have grown in leaps and bounds over the past few months, police decided to arrest him and many of his supporters, and to later confine him to his home in Magere.
This incident would lead to a damning dossier authored by American lawyer Robert Amsterdam petitioning US President Donald Trump to reconsider the military aid the US gives to Uganda, which is “used to brutalize the population,” according to the lawyer.