On Thursday July, 2, a 19 year old Boda rider solely attacked Masaka Central Police Station with an intent of recovering his Boda Boda which had been impounded a night prior. His plea to have his sole source of income turned fruitless as the police officers were reluctant to heed to his prayer unless he was to sacrifice shs 100,000 to have it back. Tired of the pleading, an emotional Walugembe Hussein opted to set himself ablaze with petroleum which he had concealed in a bottle in his coat. The heinous incident triggered widespread resentment among the public as people lambasted the police for using excess force.
Whereas the act seems to be a replica of events that happened in Tunisia about a decade back, the story in Uganda looks quite different. On December, 17, 2010, Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouaziz, a street vendor out of frustration set himself on fire after being harassed by municipal officials. His death eventually triggered the Arab spring that oversaw the fall of the then Tunisian president, Ben Ali who had ruled for 23 years. Our reporter managed to gather ideas and comments of several activists who spoke against the act.
The DP president, Nobert Mao described the incident as a practical challenge manifesting the magnitude of frustration in the youths who have been pressed to the wall by the endless draconian measures arising from covid. “This is a lively example that the youths can now do anything to express their disgruntlement,” Mao told journalists on Friday. “I am quite disappointed with Boda Boda cyclists of Masaka town. We did not see even a mere convoy of just 20 Boda riders to show some solidarity with their fallen colleague. As DP, we are following up the matter and our lawyers will drag the involved police officers to the courts of law. We are to extend some relief to his family too,” he adds.
Activist Nana Mwafrika Mbarikiwa is one of those who were emotionally struck by the death of Walugembe. The firebrand feminist wrote a tear triggering statement about what she termed as the ‘hypocrisy’ of Ugandans. “They are waiting to demonstrate against another Floyd, charity begins abroad,” part of her post reads. “He must look at the docility of Ugandans and thump his chest for a job well done at intimidation! Fear to even mourn their dead!,” her other post reads.
Ms. Kanyatsi Grace, a political figure in the FDC ridicules the public for being hypocritical in an inquisitive statement that says, “where are the prominent Ugandans who posted about black lives matter? Do Ugandan lives matter?.”