Ugandan Police Fire Live Rounds, Teargas At Opposition Protesters
Ugandan Police fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse opposition protesters in Kampala on Monday.
The Police fired live rounds and tear gas in the capital to disperse a crowd of protesters angered over the arrests and torture of key opposition politicians as well as a local pop artiste and well known government critic Bobi wine.
Demonstrations had started last week all over Uganda when protesters stoned the president’s convoy; at least one person was shot and killed and five others injured after opposition protesters had burned tyres and blocked roads in Mityana town on Sunday.
Protests started when Ugandan police arrested five opposition legislators in the Northern part of the country while they were out campaigning for a bye-election.
Ugandan Police allegedly tortured two of the arrested legislators which attracted loud criticism from most of the country who labeled it as part of a pattern of repression by President Yoweri Museveni’s government.
According to Malcolm Webb a foreign media correspondent on ground in Uganda;
“The police and the military moved in and broke up the protests using live gunfire and tear gas. Some people have gunshot wounds and we can still hear shots of tear gas being fired at a short distance.”
Local media also aired footage of demonstrators setting up bonfires and barricades on streets in Kampala while Ugandan police and military personnel were seen trying to remove the roadblocks.
Opposition Protesters are demanding for the release of all arrested legislators and opposition figures including popular musician, government critic and legislator Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine.
Bobi Wine had escaped an incident last week in which his driver was shot dead after a peaceful election campaign exercise. Bobi Wine had earlier tweeted that the government was trying to murder him.
The Ugandan presidency had alleged that the pop star’s driver was shot by accident as President Museveni’s security was reacting to the barrage of stones hurled at the President’s convoy by opposition supporters in the town of Arua.
Ugandan Police thereafter proceeded to arrest five parliamentarians and dozens of others on alleged suspicions of taking part in an assault. Ugandan Police physically assaulted two of the lawmakers while enforcing their arrests.
The Ugandan government then proceeded to charge Bobi Wine alongside three other serving lawmakers with charged with treason and unlawful possession of weapons.
This move sparked violent protests on the streets of Uganda against the government of Museveni with security forces having running street battles with protesters.
The protesters who are mostly youths want Bobi Wine to be released as well as the other lawmakers; Bobi Wine is very influential with Uganda’s youth and was elected on a wave of popular youth vote to the Ugandan parliament last year.
Bobi Wine who is a known government critic has accused President Museveni of being a dictator for the sake of his own ego.
He had expressed his sadness that Uganda seemed to be stuck with Museveni for life during an interview with Al-Jazeera earlier in the year.
“We seem to be stuck with a president who doesn’t believe anyone else can lead Uganda. Unfortunately, that has left us lagging behind for a very long time,” he said.
President Museveni who is 73 years old has been in power in power since 1986 and has refused to step down or quit.
His supporters in parliament recently passed an amendment to Ugandan constitution that ensured that Museveni would be able to stand for re-election to another five year Presidency.
The parliament removed the age limit clause from contesting the presidency which could have barred Museveni from contesting in 2021. Now it seems likely that he is set to rule for life.