Museveni’s police enforcers leave death in their wake as they struggle to suppress Bobi Wine
By Moses Ssejjoba
As we write this, a one-day old baby is reported dead – not because of a neonatal complication – because of yet another sad episode in Uganda’s history.
It happened this Monday when police deployed heavily and used excessive force with the aim to stop Robert Kyaguranyi aka Bobi Wine from consulting the people in a gathering for which he had earlier been given the green light. In their overzealous quest to do their master’s (Yoweri Museveni’s) bidding, police did not care who they found along the way. They were firing indiscriminately.
Among the “collateral damage” was the day-old infant that was at home with its mother. Police goons forcefully opened their house and threw a teargas canister inside.
Bobi Wine the Kyadondo East MP was headed for a school playground in Gayaza in the outskirts of Kampala to hold a meeting to consult his supporters on his intention to contest for the presidency during the general elections slated for next year.
Wine, who leads the popular People Power movement, is considered a key challenger for 75-year old Museveni.
The latter over the decades has shown he will resort to the most draconian tactics of repression, violence being number 1, to stop challengers. That is exactly what happened yesterday in Kasangati Town Council.
The violence happened despite the fact Bobi Wine had previously secured permission from different organs, including Police itself, to hold the consultative meeting. The People Power camp had a letter to this effect, which they obligingly had shared with police way in advance.
But things inevitably took violent turn as Wine made his way to the venue.
Very soon mothers were wailing, men fleeing, and chaos prevailing.
“Everything was going well; we had the sound system at the venue and a tent on the ground and workers had started erecting it when police stormed the venue in three trucks and just dispersed everyone before they could even say a word,” said the Mayor of Kasangati Town Council, Tony Ssempebwa.
Ssempebwa was at the ground early in the morning supervising workers to speed up the process to ensure the meeting starts on time, when the police arrived.
This, according to MP Medard Sseggona who coordinates People Power movement in Kampala, came as a surprise, even by the standards of the partisan Uganda Police.
“We held a series of meetings with them, including the final one we had on Sunday night and we had agreed on a checklist they gave us. Everything was in order when suddenly police came and said the meeting could not happen,” said the legislator, who is also a famous lawyer.
According to Sseggona, they had actually been asked to do work that was supposed to be done by the state “but because we know their tactics, we said we would comply with everything, which we actually did.”
Among the requirements the legislator said they were asked to furnish police with a “security plan” and ambulances. “Now you wonder who is constitutionally and statutory is mandated to provide security to Ugandans; but we did that, the ambulances were also ready!” Sseggona said.
When police stormed Our Lady of Good Counsel playground, Kyagulanyi and his entourage were making their way to the venue to check on preparations. However the security men had already deployed on the way and his convoy was met in Kasangati trading centre where they unleashed their brutality full throttle.
Kyagulanyi and many of his colleagues were rounded up and arrested before they were thrown into a cell at Kasangati Police Station. They were later moved to the infamous Naggalama Police Station. They stayed there late into the night, then they were released Monday night without charge.
“As usual, these cowards have released us in the deep of the night. These illegal acts and injustices only make us stronger, but most importantly reveal to us how scared the regime is of WE THE PEOPLE,” Kyagulanyi wrote on his social media platforms when they were out. Among those arrested with Kyagulanyi include fellow MPs Asumani Basalirwa of Bugiri Municipality and Kawempe North legislator Latif Ssebagala.
Others include Kasangati Mayor Tony Ssempebwa and People Power spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi. The excuse police gave for this brutality (which did not even spare journalists who were on ground to do their work) was that the venue was not covered.
This was despite just the previous night their agreeing with People Power that the tent would suffice.
Meanwhile, as this happened in Kampala, Museveni and a coterie of his sycophants were on their third day of a six-day “trek”, ostensibly to reminisce about the NRA war that brought him to power in 1986. The walk that will take him through several areas of the infamous Luwero Triangle is by all intents and purposes a campaign trail, where Museveni makes stop overs to freely address rallies.
He is also handing out “brown envelopes”, which is nothing but taxpayer money being used as bribery to buy cheap popularity.