LYANTONDE. A simmering disagreement between the Lyantonde Town Council chairperson, Mr Mustapha Kalule, and the Lyantonde Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Sulaiman Tugulagara Matojo has taken a new twist with the latter threatening an arrest.
Mr Matojo accuses Mr Kalule of conniving with law breakers to terrorise residents, an allegation the chairperson denies.
Disagreements between the two leaders began when Mr Kalule opposed the arrest of people for being idle and disorderly last December, where each suspect was reportedly forced to pay a cash police bond of Shs50,000.
“Police connive with the RDC to rob people of their money. Every suspect was forced to pay Shs50,000 as police bond, which is contrary to the law,” Kalule claims, adding: “Ideally, a police bond is supposed to be granted to any suspect charged with a minor offence, such as petty theft or assault, or to any suspect, regardless of the reason for releasing the suspect on bond, there is no charge associated.”
Mr Kalule wonders why operations against idlers are carried out during early hours of the day, something he says interrupts businesses in the area.
“We cannot arrest people for being idle at 9am more-over in the busy streets of the town. If police are doing it for security reasons, why can’t they go to areas such as Kyamiyonga or Kyabuuza that are crime prone areas ?” Mr Kalule asks.
However, Mr Robert Tashobya, the Lyantonde District police commander denies allegations that his officers ask for money from suspects to secure police bonds. He says he will investigate the matter.
Police only asks for fuel
He, however, admits that police officers sometimes request for fuel from residents that lodge complaints to enable them arrest the suspects.
“We receive only 240 litres of fuel per quarter (three months) that is supposed to run three vehicles and more than six motorcycles. This is less compared to the work load that we have. We therefore request complainants to support us with fuel for effective work but for a police bond, there is no money needed,” Mr Tashobya says.
However, one of the victims of the recent police crackdown on idlers, who works for a radio station in Lyantonde Town but preferred anonymity, says his boss was asked to pay Shs70,000 to secure a bond at Lyantonde Police Station.
Mr Matojo also accuses Mr Kalule of frustrating government programmes, which he says has stifled development in the area.
“The town council resolved to chase away all vendors using charcoal stoves to fry chapatis, chips and roast beef, among others because the town is at risk of getting fire incidents, but [Mr] Kalule does not want us to implement that important resolution, ” Mr Matojo says.
He says he will not rest until the council resolution is fully implemented.
“When a resolution was passed in council, [Mr] Kalule opposed it. We have so far had two serious fires that have even cost a life. We are prone to more dangerous fires that may even burn all this town into ashes,” Mr Matojo says.
After failing to agree on a number of issues, Mr Matojo has since instructed police to arrest Mr Kalule. This has prompted Mr Kalule to keep away from his office and occasionally sneaks in to sign important documents.
Mr Kalule insists he will not leave his people to suffer at the hands of ‘greedy’ police officers, who he says enjoy support from the RDC and vowed to continue fighting their rights.
Mr Wilson Wamala, the chairperson Lyantonde Business Community says disagreements between the RDC and town council chairperson are personal and have nothing to do with development of the town.
Daily Monitor has learnt that on December 22, 2017 during a council session, Mr Kalule and Mr Ali Damulira, a councillor representing Kooki Ward, opposed a resolution that banned use of charcoal stoves by food vendors in the streets of Lyantonde Town. Although the resolution was endorsed by majority councillors, the duo vowed to oppose it.