By Bobi Wine
I am still disturbed by the events of Friday last week at Makerere University in which a young man, Bewatte Betungura, lost his life. He was reportedly stabbed by unknown individuals at the end of the students’ guild presidential campaigns. I send heartfelt condolences to the deceased’s family, the UCU fraternity and all those who were affected by this tragedy. May his soul rest in peace.
I also send a message of strength to all students who were injured in the fracas.
To our candidate, comrade Alionzi Lawrence aka Dangote, I know that by now you would be the Guild President-elect of Makerere, and I can imagine how disappointed you feel about the turn of events. Please hang in there. These are the kinds of challenges leaders must endure.
It is very unfortunate that a short while after the incident, police arrested Hon. Frank Kabuye (MP, Kassanda South) and 3 other NUP comrades who remain in detention up to now, long after 48 hours. It is very suspect that these comrades were arrested, especially given that they were found at the University Hospital, simply trying to help the student who later passed on. Our demand is that investigations are expedited, for we know that they will definitely exonerate them.
One of the most disappointing thing about this incident was seeing some people who claim to be fighting for the same objective as us, trying to blame the murder on the NUP camp, even before investigations could start. Well, I was not surprised by this, given that the regime uses every opportunity to divide those who oppose it, and to discredit #PeoplePower/NUP as a violent group so as to legitimise its violence and brutality against us.
We are also not surprised that in less than 24 hours of the incident, the regime’s functionaries within the University had permanently banned physical campaigns and voting at the University. They also indefinitely suspended the entire student leadership structure both at Guild level and in the students’ halls of residence. Their intention is to stall the growth of the Students’ Movement which the regime considers a threat to its existence.
What was more unfortunate, however, was the speed with which fellow comrades from other change-seeking forces quickly tried to blame the death on the NUP camp, despite all indicators that the murder could even have been carefully planned in order to achieve the objectives I have highlighted above.
For long, we have made several attempts to work closely with comrades from these camps but our efforts always tend to be rebuffed by some of their leaders. What a pity it is that these comrades have fallen for the regime’s bait calculated to further drive a wedge among the forces of change!
I wish to remind all of us oppressed citizens that we have only one enemy: dictator Museveni’s regime. So I call upon our colleagues from other formations in the struggle to focus on what unites us rather than what divides us. The political competition notwithstanding, we must relate more honestly and treat each other with objectivity. Short of that, the dictator is capable of creating many emergencies with the objective of further dividing us and constricting our operating space.
I strongly condemn any act of violence and call upon all concerned authorities to swiftly, fairly and transparently investigate who murdered Betungura. His death must not be manipulated to further persecute innocent leaders and supporters of the opposition.