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Police in Bukomansimbi disperse People Power supporters

By Eddie Ssejjoba

Added 3rd December 2019 10:31 AM

The police, armed with guns and batons arrived at the venue at about 3:30 pm and dispersed the crowd at Bigasa playground, arrested some of the organizers and confiscated machines and other music items as several artistes took to their heels to avoid arrest.

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Members of the People Power group during an a rally at Bigasa in Bukomansimbi district on Friday before the police disparsed their meeting.

The police, armed with guns and batons arrived at the venue at about 3:30 pm and dispersed the crowd at Bigasa playground, arrested some of the organizers and confiscated machines and other music items as several artistes took to their heels to avoid arrest.

Several members of the People Power group were in hiding on Friday evening after the Police stormed a music concert in Bukomansimbi district and dispersed the crowds, accusing them of turning it into a political rally.

The police, armed with guns and batons arrived at the venue at about 3:30 pm and dispersed the crowd at Bigasa playground, arrested some of the organizers and confiscated machines and other music items as several artistes took to their heels to avoid arrest.

Hamiduh Sseremba, the chief organizer of the concert dubbed ‘Sseremba Agabudde’, together with People Power national youth coordinator and Mityana Municipality legislator, Francis Zaake and other politicians from Kampala and Greater Masaka who had previously addressed the gathering got a tip-off and fled from the scene moments before the police arrived.

Earlier, local police personnel from Bigasa Police post looked on for the large part of the morning as youth dressed in red attire, putting on red tops moved around the trading center with hand loudspeakers, calling upon residents to turn up and check and verify their names in the voters’ registers.   

Zaake used the occasion to launch a team of coordinators to mobilize support in the region.

The Greater Masaka police spokesman, Paul Kangavve confirmed that the police had stopped the rally but was unable to give details, saying he was still unable to get in touch with the area district Police Commander(DPC), Sowedi Manisuli, who he said was locked up in a security meeting at the district headquarters.

A letter addressed to the DPC seen by the New Vision, dated November 26 asked for permission and security to hold a live music show in the playground. It was signed by Abrah Tamale of Tamale Promotions.  Several artistes had been lined up to perform at the event including Mathias Walukagga, Abdul Mulaasi but the two were unable to reach the stage after they fled the scene.

“We promise to hold this concert with all the regulations from your office. We shall be very grateful for your response,” the letter reads in parts.   

Sseremba said some of his members who were arrested were released Sunday on bond including Fred Ssenkumba, Andrew Katende, David Ssekyanzi and Herman Lubega.

“I’m still in hiding with my colleagues, we got information that the police are looking for us. No reason was given for dispersing the meeting but we learnt that the police bosses from Bukomansimbi were not happy that we diverted from the concert and turned it into a political rally,” Sseremba said on phone.

He said he had been cleared by the police but was surprised that it was later branded an illegal assembly.

Zulaikah Nalukenge, one of the organizers said several people including women and children were injured as they ran away.

She, however, said they had to use the concert to address the people since the police had previously blocked them from holding a political meeting in the area.

“We now organize our meetings through music concerts, they (police) will not allow us to launch our political programs and mobilize support but it was unfortunate that our messages were interrupted,” she stated.   

Ssekyanzi who spoke to New Vision after he was released from police at Bukomansimbi said government had not done enough to mobilize people to check out and verify their names in the voters register and offered to use the concert to mobilize them in big numbers.      

“Government thinks everyone has access to a radio or television to know what they are supposed to do, we offered to their job without any pay,” one of the People Power members was heard telling villagers.

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