. By Nangayi Guyson
KAMPALA, UGANDA– It was about 11 hours on Monday morning when a group of opposition members and activists led by woman MP Ingrid Turinawe of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC, Uganda’s largest opposition party) arrived at Nakivubo Primary School, the planned venue for an opposition rally called by Embattled City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago who is facing possible impeachment after the government tribunal found him guilty of misconduct, abuse of office and incompetence.
Embattled City Lord Mayor and other opposition leaders including activists have described the move to throw the elected Lord Mayor as President Museveni’s machinations to disenfranchise the Kampala electorate hence calling on rallies to announce the next plan after the report that accused him.
But on Monday morning, Police in Uganda had deployed and reinforced heavily in the city centre and it suburbs to prevent the opposition from conducting the rally which police say organizers have failed to meet the requirements stipulated in the Public Order Management order Bill, which governs such gatherings and activities.
Heavy armed anti-riot police deployed early in the morning around the school and most parts of the city centre while police also fortified the number of regular policemen especially at police posts in the city centre. “Our deployment is appropriate and there is nothing unusual about it,” Kampala police spokesperson Ibin Ssenkumbi said adding “we are not allowing the rally to take place and we are sticking to that.”
However, the opposition insisted that the rally was to go on despite failed clearance from police leading to the arrest of Kampala City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, Woman activists and MP Ingrid Turinawe who is remembered by public after police squeezed her boobs and many other Pro-Democracy Activists. Rebel MPs like Sekikubo, Nsereko, Sewungu, Tinkasimire were cordoned off by Military Police at Kiseeka Market in Kampala. Speaking to the Woman activists and MP Ingrid Turinawe before her arrested, she said, “we ready to face anything in exchange of democracy and our rallies will go on despite police’s interference”
Uganda’s parliament passed The Public Order Management Bill 2011 that gave police unprecedented powers to even use guns when prohibiting and dispersing public gatherings of any political nature. The passing of this Bill meant that political gatherings like protests, meetings, and political programs on Televisions or radios that have been conducted by opposition leaders are no more without police permission.Discussing on political issues with friends in bars, hotels, salons and other public places and even discussing on an article in the newspaper, radio and TV without permission may also lead Ugandans to prison. Criticizing the government publicly on certain issues is also an offense. President Museveni who has been in power since 1986, has been facing unending criticisms from the opposition and from his own ruling party over failure to curb corruption, his long stay in power, and lack of democracy during his rule.
Many of his bush fighters and comrades have turned against him over improper power sharing after bush war that over President Apolo Milton Obote‘s government. Of recent, President Musveni’s Senior Presidential Adviser and Coordinator of Intelligence services and one of the highest-ranking members of the Ugandan military, General, David Tinyefuza Munungu, commonly known as Sejusa went into exile in Britain claiming President Museveni was grooming his First Son to succeed him. Since then, he has remained in exile and has openly vowed to overthrow Museveni’s government peacefully or forcefully. In reference to today’s planned rally, Sejusa wrote on his “Facebook page” ‘calling on the general public to join a march with Erias Lukwago to fight against undemocratic tendencies. “Thank you all who have been calling on me to return and lead the ‘struggle’ against bad governance. Yes I’ll return and join others; I have done it before and am not afraid at all to do it again. But the struggle begins not with Sejusa, Besigye or Lukwago it begins with you today marching with others to protest the underhand methods deployed against the KCCA elected administration. Thank you!.
However, the rally was thwarted by police meaning that the Public order bill was at work and very active to prevent president Museveni, s government against Egypt like Uprising in Uganda. The secret source inside the government said that the Public Order Management Bill that was passed in parliament this year was aimed at preventing Egypt like Uprising in Uganda. The source explained that opposition had plans since the time after 2011 elections to disrupt peace in Uganda and topple the current regime and the only way to prevent this was to pass such a bill. “Government looked at the main aims of opposition during protests conducted across the Country and discovered that they are aiming at causing Egypt like uprising in Uganda” the sourced said. The Public Order Management Bill 2011 was passed in Uganda’s parliament amidst controversies both at home and internationally.
Uganda’s civil society, Amnesty International and other opposition groups in Uganda protested the passing of the Bill saying it was a serious blow to open political debate in the country but supporters of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) defend the bill, saying it were to enable the security agencies to prevent violence associated with protests and demonstrations.
However, the rift between the embattled City Lord Mayor City Erias Lukwago and the government in the capital Kampala started immediately when he started his duty as a mayor and he has always been critical to the government on many issues. Mr Lukwago’s 2 years tenure in office has been overshadowed by fights with the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director, Ms Jennifer Musisi appointed by President Museveni on almost everything. A tribunal, chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemeriere, handed over the report to minister in charge of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Frank Tumwebaze on Thursday last week clearing the process for the removal of the Kampala City Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, on grounds of abuse of office, incompetence, misconduct and misbehavior and his fate now lies in the hands of 30 councilors, who will vote this month whether to censure him.