RIOTS WITHIN KAMPALA CITY
On 27th April 2011, Dr. Dr. Besigye was granted bail from Nakasongola court and one of his bail conditions clearly stated that he should not involve himself in unlawful assembly and processions as it would attract crowds within Kampala city disrupting the peace, security, and possible loss of life and property.
Yesterday 28th April 2011 at 6:30am, Dr. Besigye defiantly started walking from his home, Ssenide road, Kasangati accompanied by about seven foreign journalists and three local journalists.
Three senior police officers advised Dr. Besigye to follow the court directive by Her Worship the Chief Magistrate Justine Atukwasa, to avoid unlawful assembly and processions for at least seven months. He responded by challenging the police to buy him fuel for his car.
Dr. Besigye moved while the police tried keeping order on the road especially at strategic areas towards Kalerwe bearing in mind the violent and criminal nature of some of the people around the market area. He got through the roof top of his vehicle and beckoned the crowd to join him. The crowd kept building up.
Dr. Besigye reached Kalerwe-Kubbiri around 8:00am and insisted on driving towards Wandegeya Centenary Bank. The police blocked him at this point for two major reasons:
- The route to Wandegeya has many people of different characters some of whom with potential to turn violent with intention to loot.
- Police had heard intelligence reports that Dr. Besigye wanted to divert through Makerere University to attract university students to improve his crowd to greater chances of causing chaos.
On consultations, Dr. Besigye was advised to go through Mulago around about and get to any centenary bank branch. If all his intentions were genuine, he could not defiantly refuse police’s humble advice. He defiantly remained standing through the roof top of his car chatting with foreign journalists for about one hour.
Thereafter, he took the left turn toward Mulago around about. As he drove he kept beckoning the crowds to follow him. The mob started throwing stones at police who responded by chasing them away using batons and shield, without using tear gas at all.
Dr. Dr. Besigye drove to Mulago round about and parked his car in the middle of the road after police blocked him from driving towards Wandegeya and was being directed to drive through Yusuf Lule road up to his office in Najjanankumbi. He defiantly stayed in the middle of the road for another three hours from 9.30am to midday disrupting traffic flow, despite repeated advise from senior police officers.
All this time, police acted with extreme restraint, keeping at bay the crowds from Katanga and Wandegeya who were being called in by Dr. Besigye. The crowd began showering stones at the police, one stone hit the right eye of a police constable. At this time, the crowd surged and wanted to grab the policeman’s gun from him. Other police officer saved his gun and the injured constable was rushed to hospital.
At this time, a senior police officer approached the left window of Dr. Besigye’s car urging him to drive off. The officer was sprayed with a can of pepper spray by one of the associates of Dr. Besigye who was seated with him in the car. While this was going on, Dr. Besigye was giving press interviews that included foreign journalists.
By this time it had been evidently clear that:
- Dr. Besigye was disrupting traffic intentionally
- He had defied police advise for 3 hours
- He and his group in the car had clear intentions to do harm to the police. This was exemplified by the equipment of the pepper spray used by one of his aides to spray the eyes of the police officer while he, himself was handling a hammer threatening police with words, “I will hammer you…”
- The crowd following him had become more militant and violent to other road users by throwing stones.
- Dr. Besigye was blatantly disobeying one of the conditions given to him while being granted bail at Nakasongola court the previous day.
Basing on the circumstances of the time and keeping in mind the degeneration of the situation it became irreversibly justified to use appropriate force and pepper spray to effect arrest of the defiant Dr. Besigye and his accomplices who were driven back to Kasangati police station en-route to the court of law.
While at Kasangati police station, Dr. Besigye was offered the services of the police surgeon which he refused, preferring to his sister Dr.Kobusingye who came and gave him first aid. His lawyers and Hournable Alaso had access to him.
Late afternoon, Dr. Besigye, his driver Kato Fred, Kavuma Robert, Mugumya Sam, Kalanzi Geofrey, Mwijukye Francis and Byomuhangi Martin were charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly C/S 65, sub section 66 of the Penal Code Act and assaulting a police officer C/S 238 (d) of the Penal Code Act.
Dr. Besigye was bailed out while his accomplices were remanded to Luzira prison.
Today 29/4/2011 beginning around 9:30am, some rowdy groups crowded and began forming up at different places trying to block access roads to the City Centre.
The police, therefore, within its constitutional mandate restored law and order and removed the blocks from the roads, opened the roads, disengaged the crowds to ensure that those with criminal intentions, DO NOT reach the City Centre to disturb the normal business life of the city.
The police, other security agencies call upon the public to work hand in hand with it to ensure that law and order are maintained. Government assures the country that the situation is under control and every citizen should go about his/her way and anyone who disturbs the peace should be reported to the authorities for prompt action.
A.M. Kirunda Kivejinja
Third Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Affairs