Friday October 20 2017

Police foil MP Ssewanyana’s age limit rally

Police truck tows Makindye West MP Mr Allan

Police truck tows Makindye West MP Mr Allan Ssewanya's car shortly after blocking his consultative meeting and his eventual arrest on October 20, 2017. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By Misairi Thembo Kahungu

Kampala
Police on Friday afternoon foiled a planned consultative meeting by Makindye West MP Mr Allan Ssewanyana's as he intended to gather his voters’ views on the proposed Constitutional Amendment.

The private member’s bill tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi seeks among others to amend article 102 (b) that puts the age of any presidential candidate at above 35 years and not above 75 years.
Opposition MPs and a few others from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRN) see it as a move intended to benefit president Museveni who will be beyond 75 years in 2021.

At about 3pm, police commanded by Kampala South Regional Police Commander Siraji Bakaleke fired teargas and live bullets to disperse the people who had already gathered at Wakulekana trading center along Salama road in Makindye.
It is here that running battles ensued between the police and the crowd that had gathered to welcome area MP Ssewanyana and his colleagues.

A police officer was heard saying one of the police officers commanding the operation was hit by a stone in the face. Daily Monitor did not independently verify this allegation.
Dozens of plain clothed men and women were seen working alongside the police roughing up some of the rioters.

Police arrested several people who would be put on a waiting pick-up van before being driven them away.
A man who was seen blood oozing from his mouth claimed that his wallet that has money and a national identity card had been grabbed by a police officer as he was being arrested.

“I don’t know why you are arresting me. This officer (pointing to one of the policemen) has grabbed my wallet from the pocket. There is my national ID and some money. You can see the pen he is carrying is mine,” lamented the man without any response from the police.
After the police was overwhelmed by rioters who pulled them to either sides of the road, the military police from Makindye barracks was called in to reinforce police in the operation.

At 4pm, another officer only identified as Nuwagaba walked to shops ordering the operators to go home because the “the area is not safe for business now.”

At this point, rioters who attempted to block the road continued to hurl stones at the police. Police continued re-enforcement with armoured vehicles patrolling the area.
After a heated exchange between Mr Bakaleke and the MPs who were travelling to the venue, a police mamba was used to tow Mr Ssewanyana’s car registration number UAQ 219U as he emerged from the open roof waving to the people.
Leader of Opposition in Parliament Ms Winfred Kiiza, Bukonzo West MP Godfrey Atkins Katusabe and Butambala MP Muwanga Kivumbi were blocked by the police from accessing the venue at about 4:20pm.

Mr Bakaleke said police could not allow Mr Ssewanyana to hold a rally in the mid of the road where many people were doing business.
“He (Ssewanyana) was planning to hold a rally in the middle of the road and an area where people have a lot of businesses. We had earlier tried our efforts to invite him to come and plan together so that the rally can be held in an open place like Katwe playground but he refused to pick our calls,” Bakaleke said.

He said that it was illegal for Mr Ssewanyana to invite other MPs to join him in his constituency even when police already issued directives restricting MPs to consult individually in their own constituencies.
Asked where Mr Ssewanyana was being detained, Mr Bakaleke declined to reveal to journalists. He also declined to comment on who the plain clothed goons working with the police were despite being seen conducting arrests. Daily Monitor however understood that Mr Ssewanyana had been taken to Kabalagala police station.

The situation came to normal at about 5:15pm with military police patrolling the area to ensure there was no more chaos.
On Thursday, police arrested Rubaga South MP Kato Lubwama and Makindye East Mp Ibrahim Kasozi while trying to hold a rally at Natete. Butambala county MP Muwanga Kivumbi was also arrested at Kyengera town council as he joined Busiro East Mp Medard Lubega Ssegona in yet another foiled rally.

mkthembo@ug.nationmedia.com

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