Speaker Kadaga questions government’s attitude towards Opposition

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KAMPALA, Uganda

The Speaker of Parliament, Ms. Rebecca Kadaga has questioned the state of the multiparty system in the country, citing the persistent brutality and harassment of Opposition groups. 

This was during a Tuesday sitting where police brutality against the Forum for Democratic Change-(FDC) party members and including former party leader Dr. Kizza Besigye was debated. 

Ms. Kadaga said Ugandans need to know whether there is really a multiparty system and whether it is being practiced in good spirit since parties are registered and funded but are not allowed to meet, organize and do anything.

  On Monday, heavily armed police backed with armored vehicles and water cannons sprayed Besigye’s cars almost throwing him out of the roof top of his car.

Dr. Besigye, a four-time presidential candidate and other Opposition leaders of FDC, had been scheduled to hold a conference at Mandela National Stadium Namboole on Monday.

The party had organized a two-day leadership party seminar to discuss its strategy for the 2021 General Election.

But by sunrise, police had sealed off all access points to the stadium, barring anyone near the precincts of the stadium.

This later prompted Dr. Besigye and other FDC officials to abandon Namboole and head to the FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi on Entebbe Road.

Dr. Besigye and party officials started the journey to Najjanankumbi in a procession but at the Banda market on Jinja Road, police intercepted them. Police fired multiple rounds of teargas canisters to disperse the crowds.

Police ordered Dr. Besigye to get out of his car. He declined and locked himself inside. Police brought a truck to tow his car away but the chain failed and snapped twice.

Dr. Besigye’s driver acted fast and maneuvered around the towing truck and drove away.

Police followed him in hot pursuit and caught up with him as he ran into heavy traffic jam at Nakawa-Spear Motors junction.

Police smashed his car’s windscreen, lobbed teargas into his car and fired water cannons at him subduing him with the powerful volleys of water explosions.

He endured for a moment but finally succumbed to the impact of water cannons and tear gas explosions before being forced out of his Toyota Land Cruiser and arrested.

He was briefly detained at Naggalama Police Station but released at about 10 pm last night after being charged with inciting violence and unlawful assembly.

The Leader of Opposition, Betty Aol Ochan said members of the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM party have been gathering freely without government approval but opposition meetings are always foiled by police. 

Mr. Chris Baryomunsi, the State Minister for Housing asked the police to do its work professionally but also advised political actors to learn to respect the police. He called upon FDC not to take on the defiance approach.

Gen Moses Ali, the First Deputy Prime Minister directed the Internal Affairs Minister to present a statement on what transpired during the Kireka fracas.

He, however, drew outrage from the opposition when he said they will look at why Police used water cannons against Dr. Besigye instead of teargas.

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