Kampala streets empty after President’s victory

Monday January 18 2021

Luwum Street in the city centre was among the deserted areas in Kampala on Saturday. PHOTO / DAVID LUBOWA.

By Irene Abalo Otto

When president-elect Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the National resistance Movement was announced winner of the General Election on Saturday at 3:35pm for a sixth term, Kampala had gone to ‘sleep.’  The streets were empty and shops were closed. 

A few security personnel patrolled the city as  fears of protests loomed. 

Mr Museveni garnered 58.64 per cent of the total votes cast, beating his closest challenger Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, who got 34.83 per cent. 

At the Mulago roundabout, there were about 15 police officers. One officer said he had not seen any celebrations, an hour after the announcement of the results.

At Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb,  about 50 youth were moving in a truck, others rode on boda bodas donned in yellow NRM T-shirts dancing to the Kadodi cultural dance  as police  watched. 

They continued to Mawanda Road and were scheduled to have a celebrations in Ntinda, Kampala,  but were dispersed before 7pm. 


Kisekka market was empty. A baby played opposite the market as his mother packed her belongings inside a kiosk. 
Driving through Kyagwe Road to Arua Park, the usually congested area was deserted with a few loaders roaming around the area. 

At Namirembe Road in downtown, only one shop was open. 
“I am also scared but not so much. I saw people closing their shops when it was coming to 4pm. I am here alone,” the shop keeper, who preferred anonymity,  said. 

On Tuula Road in Kawempe Division, three police patrol vans and Military Police patrol team were stationed infront of a shop. Another group of plain clothed police officers with bullet proof vests and guns patrolled the area. 

Mr Steven Muwhezi, who was on Mr Museveni’s campaign team, did not know why people were not celebrating the President’s victory. 

“We are here to monitor and see what is going on. I do not know why people are not happy. After announcing the President, people who had disappeared have started coming back (to the streets to do their business). There was nothing here. But within one hour, people have started coming back,”  Mr Muhwezi  said.

At Kasubi tombs, eight security personnel were patrolling the area in a  police pick-up truck.

Driving through to Rubaga Cathedral, the church was open but there were no people inside.  Mr James Sebuyanzi was at the entrance praying.

Moving towards the cathedral from the west, there where about seven police officers but with batons on foot patrol. 

Near Shell fuel station in Mengo, four military police in a pick-up truck patrolled the area. 

At Ndeeba Mbaawo, 10 police, military and prison officers marched towards Kibuye roundabout as the yellow sunset filtered through the slum area. 

A drive through Makindye to Nakawa took us less than 20 minutes because it was deserted. 

By 6:30pm, about 50 motorcycle riders donning NRM T-shirts were refilling at Total fuel station in Nakawa for a celebration drive across the city. 

By 6:55pm, they had joined another group and converged at Kampala Capital City Authority yard on Seventh Street, Industrial Area. 

The group of about 150 people danced and took drinks in celebration before dispersing by 7:20pm. 
The NRM Secretariat in Nakasero was closed when we passed by at 7:39pm.