On July 15, Kibaale Woman MP Robinah Nabbanja was beaten up as she attempted to calm down tempers that had flared as truck drivers wrangled with local authorities in Kibaale over a taxi fare. On Thursday that week, she wept in Parliament as she made a personal statement about the incident. Full Woman talked to her about the incident and the issues of violence against women.
Kibaale Woman MP, Robinah Nabbanja, is no stranger to controversy having featured on comic television interviews attacking former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi when the duo was said not be in good terms with the NRM party—which Nabbanja also subscribes to. However, she was recently in the media again after being assaulted.
What happened on that day?
One thing I do not want to remember is that incident. I had never been beaten because my dad died when I was at a tender age- I was about seven years. I have never been attacked in my life. Whenever I remember that incident, I remember staring at death in the eyes.
These people who attacked me are not from that area, neither are they from that roadblock. I think It was a planned move to kill me. I had a radio programme [and traders asked me] about an illegal tax in my district. I told them this tax was abolished.
These people heard, I had the letter so they came to that radio station, picked these letters, photocopied them and gave to almost all the traders. I did not know they were organising themselves for a demonstration.
Monday and Tuesday is when they organised themselves and refused to pay [the tax]. It was a very peaceful demonstration. They wanted the LC 5 chairperson to explain.
I reached the scene and found the road was blocked, I got out to find out what was happening. They were very peaceful. I asked whether they were waiting for the district police commander. I asked who was representing the LC5 chairman. A young man, who did the boxing, said “I am the one”.
I said the vice chairman is Mr Vashigabo, how come you are the one who is representing him yet we have a councillor for this area here present? I asked him whether he had seen the letter?
He said yes, and I asked him how come he was representing the LC5. He said, “why do you ask?” Then I replied, “This man has no capacity. And we cannot let people stay here on the road. Let us remove these barriers because anything can happen.”
Vehicles started moving and there was no commotion at all. But when there were two vehicles remaining, I asked my driver to follow the convoy the driver was a bit behind so I walked down the slope.
I only remember falling on the ground, they had hit me.
Dr Kasirivu’s driver grabbed me from behind, then another one hit me from the side. After falling down, it took me like two minutes [to gain consciousness]. When I woke up, I saw they were trying to lynch him [the attacker]. I told them not to take the law in their hands. I struggled to go to hospital.
The next thing you remember, you are in hospital. Did you spend the night there?
No, I drove to Kampala because I wanted better treatment.
How is your health condition now?
I am still very weak. I am going for a scan to ascertain whether I don’t have any blood clots. I just need your prayers. I think I will be okay.
How did your family react after watching that TV footage?
It is a big shame that people made an attempt on my life.
But again what will they [my family] do, I was beaten and they cannot change that fact. And everybody saw it but I am lucky that the President picked it up and those who beat me are now in prison and the roadblocks are off.