Democratic Party (DP) rally in Kamwokya, a Kampala city suburb, was supposed to start at 2 pm but the party President, Norbert Mao arrived at 5pm.
He and other party top officials spent the three hours in between huddled in talks with the area police over permission to hold the rally.
The talks failed. And Mao decided, against police advice, to go ahead with the rally. At exactly 5 pm Mao arrived at the rally venue, an open ground adjacent to the Kamwokya area market. He was decked out in a dark suit, white shirts and tie in the green-on-white party colours with his wife, Naome, in tow. She was dressed in beautiful gomesi wrapper also in party colours.
Both were tense as they stepped onto the dias and Mao started his address: “You know I am a lawyer,” he started, “and according to the constitution of Uganda, the Police do not have a right to stop us from staging a rally especially when we have informed them. “Today we are therefore going to decide whether were are going to have peace or disorder.”
No sooner had he uttered these words than gunshots rang out followed by the fumes and the sting of teargas. The rally crowd fled for dear life. A crowd jumped to protect Mao from the menacing police. Business at Kamwokya ground came to a halt for about one hour.
In the ensuing melee, the dispersed rally crowd hurled stones at the police who shot back with live bullets and teargas. No reports of deaths and injury by the time of this report. However, one man was arrested and suffered the wrath of over 10 police men who pounced on, hit and hit him again from all directions with batons and gun buts before bundling him onto the one of their pick-up trucks and driving off to the nearby Kira Road Police station.
Police officers at the Kamwokya said the DP rally was illegal because the organisers had not notified the inspector general of police.
“Whether you wrote or not cannot be confirmed since you do not have a letter from the IGP, we cannot allow you to use a public address system” said Alex Asiimwe, the DPC of Kira Road Police Station, before the shooting and the teargassing started.
DP Organising Secretary Serungogi Charles, who is an aspirant for the Kampala mayor post, MP Sebuliba Mutumba (DP, Kawempe South) and other officials pleaded with police officials in vain.
The DP supporters were angry that a meeting by the Secretary General of the ruling party NRM, Amama Mbabazi, had gone on unimpeded.
“Why didn’t they provide security to Amama Mbabazi who was having a meeting at KCC primary school, I was there and there was no police,” complained Andrew Kagwa, a DP supporter at the scuttled rally. He blamed the police attack on government double standards.
The area councilor confirmed that NRM was having a meeting in the neighborhood.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
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