Drama ensued in Arua town on Saturday when the resident district commissioner, Ibrahim Abiriga, arrested three senior municipal officers over the demolition of a building on a road reserve.
Confusion started when Abiriga tried to halt the demolition to save East African Assembly representative, Nusura Tiperuâ€™s house.
The commercial building, which is inhabited by Tiperuâ€™s relatives, is among the structures that were earmarked for destruction in Arua Public Cell.
Abiriga, who was reportedly acting on a call from Tiperu, went to the scene where and ordered the driver of the grader to stop.
Abiriga declared the grader driver under arrest and forced him to board his official pick-up truck. This attracted the intervention of the municipal treasurer, Owen Abidrabo, assistant Town Clerk Alfred Oyo and assistant engineer Herbert Oleya, who were overseeing the exercise.
Abiriga then declared the three district officials under arrest. He ordered them to join the grader operator on his vehicle, which they did without hesitation.
Enraged residents whose houses had been demolished turned their anger on Abiriga accusing him of double standards.
They demanded that Tiperuâ€™s house and a Warid telecom mast also be demolished.
Abiriga instead drove to Arua Central Police Station where he ordered the Police chief, Julius Salube, to detain the driver and officials for two weeks as he â€œconsulted with the minister of local government.â€
Municipal officers, led by the Town Clerk, Francis Barabanawe, flocked the Police station after learning of their colleagueâ€™s arrest.
They had a one-hour meeting with the Police before the arrested were released without charges. The regional Police commander, Bazil Mugisa, said they found no offence.
â€œThey were doing lawful duty,â€ Mugisa said.
He said the Police would provide the municipal workers who are involved in the exercise with security.
â€œIf the RDC orders us to stop this work we will not because this is an independent local authority,â€ Mugisa added. Barabanawe said they would sue the RDC for obstructing a lawful government programme.
â€œThe RDC has no powers to obstruct a government programme. If he had any disgruntlement, he should have sued us,â€ Barabanawe said.
â€œWe will take legal action against Abiriga,â€ he added. Barabanawe disclosed that Warid telecom had accepted to move their mast.
â€œOur plan shows that Tiperuâ€™s house is on a road reserve. She can engage an independent surveyor to verify our measurements,â€ Barabanawe said.
A total of 9km of road are to be opened in Bazaar, Mvara and Awindiri wards.
Chaos as Arua RDC arrests officials