By Frank Bwambale, Biira Hellen, and Ajok Isabella
For the past days since Monday, February 24 Bobi Wine and his People Power movement has been involved in rope pulling with the Uganda police force. The basis of their disagreements stems from the police’s persistent blockades of Bobi Bobi Wine’s presidental consultative meetings despite clearance from the Electoral Commission. Right from the start of this year when the Kyadondo East legislator shared his work plan, the police has been violently dispersing his gatherings to the point of arresting and brutalising his supporters.
The most recent wagging on the tongues of Ugandans is the intensifying wave of brutality meted out by the police on Bobi’s supporters. On February, 20 Ritah Nabukenya a 28 year old mother of two was knocked dead in Nakawa, in an accident alleged to have involved a police patrol reg.no UP 4841 according to eye witness reports. More witness accounts pinned the police for the murder although the spokesperson smartly refuted the claims and committed to produce CCTV footage showing the events that occurred that morning. The Kyadondo East legislator challenged the police to produce the footage till police backed down and claimed the CCTV system was faulty at the time the incident occurred. Fred Enanga was quoted telling The Monitor journalists that, ‘At the time the incident occurred, the network of the CCTV camera at that place was off and it did not have power until 10pm in the night. We are however still assessing the incident to see of we can retrieve some information from the cameras close to it. When we get the footage, I will share it with you.’
The controversial statement proved to the public that police was concealing something as Musiri David intimates. ‘It makes no sense for a full CCTV system to lack electricity. Honestly, something does not add up.’ On the same matter, Makerere Lord Councillor, Doreen Nyanjura questioned the legitimacy of these cameras that cost tax payers a hefty estimated shs 380 billion.
People Power supporters link these killings to the negligence of the police institution which they accuse of harbouring bias. We came across a social media video proving this narrative right. A man clad in red People Power attire was brutally beaten by police officers while in custody. Many are seen in this video mocking him for supporting the movement. ‘Now show us where your power is,’ an officer is heard saying.
The prevailing crisis might spin the country into another wave of violence according to political analysts. In a radio talk show with Metro FM, former senior presidential advisor on media, Joseph Tamale Mirundi advised government to go slow on Bobi Wine if harmony is to prevail. ‘Bobi Wine was in the first place birthed by the government mistakes. Leave him to consult, people will get used to him instead of inflating his bid with your violent approach,’ Mirundi lashed out at the police. To prove Mirundi’s foretelling, Bobi Wine seems to be losing his patience. In one of his statements to the police following the Nansana shooting that left Dan Kyeyune dead, Bobi said, ‘If the police continues suppressing our rights, we will look for another final option which we cannot reveal now.’ And on the matters of the Electoral Commission’s silence, he intimates, ‘The EC’s silence is a manifestation of lack of independence in its operations which is an obstacle to free and fair elections.’
These incumbent matters have sparked condemnation from both the opposition and the ruling NRM party politicians. On Wednesday, the speaker of parliament tasked the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to discuss in depth why the killings and crackdown on opposition supporters is intensifying. The NRM party secretary general, Kasule Lumumba also took to her social media to ridicule the police’s actions.