Wednesday, September 9, 2009



By Joyce Namutebi and Charles Jjuuko
The New Vision
Kayunga, Uganda
September 8 2009

" Is history repeating itself in Uganda 43 years later?"

ANTI-RIOT Police yesterday fired teargas canisters at Mengo minister Kabuuza Mukasa and his entourage during their visit to the Kayunga district headquarters ahead of the tour of Kabaka Ronald Mutebi.

Kabuza and David Ntege, the clerk to the Buganda Lukiiko (parliament), escaped arrest by the Regional Police Commander, Richard Mvule.

The latter had ordered the Anti-Riot Police to disperse some youth who were trying to erect stalls at the nearby field in preparation of the Kabaka’s visit on Saturday.

Kabuuza and Ntege were part of a Mengo delegation, which included three other ministers, dispatched to the area to consult with district officials.

One man, said to be a motorcyclist, was arrested and had his leg injured. Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba, however, put the number of those arrested at five.

Mvule accused Mengo of “ferrying lumpens” to disturb the peace in Kayunga. The seemingly furious Mvule exchanged words with Mukasa who had told him it was not necessary to disperse the youth who were peacefully going about their business.

During the melee, the Anti-Riot Police in a joint operation with regular Police sprayed teargas at the minister’s vehicle. People fled in all directions when the Police charged.

In the clash, Mvule attempted to confiscate Ntege’s phone, accusing him of taking his photograph. He also threatened to arrest him. Ntege said he was reading a text message and that his phone could not take pictures.

After the fracas, both Mengo officials went to Kayunga Police station, demanding an explanation why the Police had fired teargas at them. They quoted Mvule saying he had received instructions from above.

The incident occurred after the district speaker, Rosemary Nakalawa, informed a meeting attended by four Mengo ministers that the district council had not received any communication that Mutebi would not visit.
She said the district was ready to receive the Kabaka, and that they had mobilised people to attend the function.

The meeting was also attended by people calling themselves Banyala loyal to the Kabaka, who included Steven Kayemba Namuyonjo, who Mengo recognises as the Banyala cultural head.

The Bugerere county chief, Ssevume Musoke, said there is no official cultural leader in Bugerere except the Banyala’s cultural association.

He said the district has 56 tribes and the Kabaka would not beg them all for permission to visit. By press time, the Police patrolled Kayunga and mounted roadblocks on roads to the district.

In another development, the Buganda kingdom said the Kabaka’s tour would go ahead and asked the Government to reign in “negative and retrogressive elements” plotting to disrupt the visit.

Addressing journalists at Bulange, the seat of the kingdom, Mengo information minister Medard Lubega also asked the Police to act professionally.

He described as “spurious” claims that the Kabaka had to seek permission from the “self-styled Sabanyala” before visiting Kayunga district to preside over the Buganda youth day festivities.

“We call upon the President, whom we respect and fear, not to keep quiet when all rights are being trampled,” he implored. “Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura has the role to provide security to all Ugandans if he lives by his oath and to justify the salary he draws from tax payers’ money.”

The minister said attempts to stop the Kabaka’s visit pointed at a grand plan to break up the Buganda kingdom.

“There is an ongoing project to undermine and break up the kingdom of Buganda by using opportunists who claim to speak for ethnic minorities in Buganda,” Lubega asserted.

“These self-seekers are being given full use and backing of state machinery, including security apparatus, to create no-go areas for the Kabaka of Buganda and thus create fiefdoms within Buganda. They are trying to create an illegal and intolerable situation where the Kabaka needs permission to travel within his kingdom.”

He warned that if the “poisonous seeds of ethnic hatred” were not stopped now, they could germinate into political instability and genocide.

He also asked the army to arrest and court-martial retired Capt. Baker Kimeze, the leader of the Banyala, for “promising bloodshed should the Kabaka set foot in Bugerere”.

Lubega announced that Buganda would reject the posting of military Police as new guards for the Kabaka.

He warned that if the Government withdraws the UPDF guards, the Baganda would devise other means of ensuring the Kabaka’s security. “We can collect spears and clubs to protect the Kabaka.”