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Profile: Walk-to-work campaign

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th April 2012 03:41 AM

A campaign launched by opposition political parties and members of civil society against the rising food prices and deteriorating health care in Uganda.

Profile: Walk-to-work campaign

A campaign launched by opposition political parties and members of civil society against the rising food prices and deteriorating health care in Uganda.

By Vision Reporters

Summary of walk-to-work campaign:

·         It was a campaign launched by the Activists for Change, a non-profit Organization, April 7, 2011 at Fairway Hotel.

·         The campaign was launched against the rising food prices and deteriorating health care in the Country.

·         It was composed of opposition party presidents, Forum for Democratic Change’s Kizza Besigye, Democratic Party’s Nobert Mao, Uganda People’s Congress’ Olara Otunu and former JEEMA party president Kibirige Mayanja; opposition party MPs and civil society organisations, who walked from their homes to their workplaces on Mondays and Thursdays each week.

·         In Kampala, the demonstration spread to Gayaza, Kasangati, Ntinda,

·         From Kampala district, walk-to-work spread to Wakiso, Masaka, Jinja, Mukono and Gulu districts.

·         Police used teargas to quell the demonstration, injuring 48 people, among whom were 3 children from Safari Kindergarten in Gayaza, 9 from Wampewo Ntakke S. S., a 7-months pregnant woman, FDC leader Kizza Besigye and some police officers.

·         4 people died, 167 people were injured and several people were arrested in the course of the demonstration.

·          

Walk-to-Work Campaign (demonstration)

This was a campaign launched by opposition political parties and members of civil society against the rising food prices and deteriorating health care in Uganda. It was launched by the Activists for Change, a non-profit Organisation, April 7, 2011 at Fairway Hotel. 

A composition of opposition party presidents and MPs, and civil society organisations walked from their respective homes to their workplaces on Mondays and Thursdays each week.

This was to continue until the Government comes up with a plan to lower the prices of fuel and essential commodities. They also demanded that government stops all forms of irresponsible expenditure and channel resources in areas that benefit the ordinary citizen.

4 people died, 167 people were injured and several people were arrested in the course of the demonstration.

Chronology:

07.04.11 – FDC president Dr. Kizza Besigye, MPs Abdu Katuntu and Betty Nambooze, DP and UPC officials and members of civil society organisations launch the Walk-to-Work campaign at Fairway Hotel.

11.04.11 – FDC president Kizza Besigye was intercepted by police while on his way to the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi and was taken to Kasangati Magistrate’s Court, where he was charged with disobeying lawful orders, committing traffic offences and inciting violence.

Besigye denied the charges and his lawyer David Mpanga applied for bail which was granted on a non-cash bail of sh 10m.

Mao, the DP president, together with fellow Party members Kenneth Kakande, Mathias Nsubuga, Moses Katabu, Elvis Kintu, William Kamulegeya and Robert Kwesiga were intercepted at Ntinda Trading Centre and taken to Kira Road Police Station.

They were taken to City Hall Court to take plea before Grade One Magistrate Juliet Hatanga, charged with inciting violence and failing to comply with traffic rules, but were later discharged unconditionally when Medard Ssegona, their Lawyer, raised an objection to the charges.

Ssegona said the proceedings were being conducted beyond the official court business hours of 8:00am to 5:00pm, which is in breach of Article 28 of the Constitution that guarantees a transparent, free and fair trial, to which Juliet Hatanga agreed.

Other politicians, Moses Kasibante and Paul Sendaula; Abdu Katuntu, Wafula Oguttu and Jack Sabiiti;  a student, Phiona Busingye and a businesswoman Peace Kansiime; were arraigned at Muwanga II Court and granted bail and released on a non-cash bond at Nakawa Court, respectively.

Police used tear gas to disperse opposition supporters who had gathered and were cheering the politicians. In the process, two tear gas canisters exploded at St. Kizito Bishop Mukwaya Primary School in Gayaza, Kasangati Muslim Primary School and St. John Gayaza Health Centre in Wakiso district choking several pupils, especially from Kasangati Muslim Primary School.

Pupils were taken to hospital complaining of vomiting, stomachache, itching eyes and coughing, symptoms that were attributed to the tear gas.

12.04.11 – The Police Spokesperson Judith Nabakooba and Kampala Metropolitan deputy operations commander Christopher Kasalawo visited St. Kizito Bishop Mukwaya Primary School, Kasangati Muslim Primary School and St. John Gayaza Health Centre and asked to be forgiven.

FDC president Kizza Besigye accused the Police of using expired tear gas against innocent civilians. However, the Director of Operations in the Police Force Fredrick Kiyaga, dismissed his claims.

13.04.11 – Police Political Commissar Asan Kasingye outlawed another Walk-to-Work demonstration that the opposition had planned for 14.04.11. He said the organisers had not notified the Police and thus, the demonstration was unlawful. This was at Media Centre in Kampala where a press conference was called.

At Parliament, Internal Affairs Minister Matiya Kasaija explained why Monday’s Walk-to-Work was intercepted and warned of a repeat of the events if the law is not heeded.

14.04.11 – Democratic Party President Nobert Mao staged a walk-to-work demonstration in Gulu that got him and several others arrested and detained. Angry protestors barricaded the roads and pelted the Police with stones leading to the summoning in of the army. Mao was later escorted to his residence in Pece by the anti-riot and mobile Police.

In Kasangati, security operatives and senior Police officers intercepted Besigye, with a large following, at Kasangati Trading Centre, and tried to block him as he was walking from his home early in the morning.

In the process, he was shot in the right hand, and was taken to Kampala Hospital for treatment by Uganda Red Cross officials. Later in the afternoon, Besigye walked for over 500metres to Wampewo, where he was blocked by Military Police.

In an effort to quell the walk-to-work demonstration in Kampala, Wakiso, Masaka and Jinja, Police used tear gas injuring Forty eight people among whom were three children from Safari Kindergarten in Gayaza, nine from Wampewo Ntakke Secondary School, a woman who was seven-months pregnant, FDC leader Kizza Besigye and some police officers were injured.

Former JEEMA leader Kibirige Mayanja and his successor Asuman Basalirwa were intercepted at Gayaza Road round-about in Kawempe and were arrested for allegedly holding an unlawful assembly.

In Mukono, MP Betty Nambooze was arrested at Kirowooza, 3km from her residence, charged with unlawful gathering and remanded at Kauga Prison. MPs Nandala Mafabi and Patrick Amuriat, DP’s Mwaka Lukutumoi, FDC’s Rubaramira Ruranga, IPC’s Margaret Wokuri and three others were arrested along Jinja Road and were later charged in Nakawa Court with holding an unlawful demonstration.

At the Makindye Chief Magistrates’ Court, Kampala Lord Mayor-elect Erias Lukwago and FDC east region vice president Salaamu Musumba were charged with disobeying police orders. They were later released on non-cash court bond of sh2m.

MPs Beatrice Anywar and Issa Kikungwe were arrested at Kajjansi while they were walking to Kampala. They were charged with obstructing traffic at Entebbe Court, and were later granted cash bail of sh1m.

18.04.11 – Democratic Party members, Nobert Mao, the party president, Kenneth Paul Kakande, John Mary Sebuwufu, Kamya Kasozi, Moses Biriwa, Kintu David and Tadewo Kalule, were accused of assaulting and causing actual body harm to a Police Officer, Sgt. Yusuf Bayise. They were charged with assault and inciting violence at City Hall Court where, though given the option of being bailed out, they declined it and were sent to Luzira Prison. In Luzira, Mao was allocated prison remand number 843/2011 in ward B1 Murchison Bay. They were remanded until May 2 while investigations into the matter were being continued.                                                                                                                                                                                             

Opposition leaders Ibrahim Semuju Nganda, Nathan Nandala Mafabi, UPC leader Olara Otunnu, Cecilia Ogwal, Anne Mugisa, Sospater Akwenyu, Sarah Epenu, Richard Nvanungi, Ezra Kyalo, Chris Opoka, Robert Mayanja, George Ogwang, Margaret Otim, Eric Sakwa, Gerald Akwedi, Margaret Wokuri and Archbold Agaba were arrested and accused of inciting youth to burn tyres in the middle of the road between Kireka trading Centre and Hot Loaf Bakery on Jinja Road, and throw stones at police officers, threatening to injure other persons because of their race, origin or political affiliations and disobeying lawful orders given by police.

They denied the charges and were granted bail. Trial date was set on May 12.

Kasangati Court Grade One Magistrate James Eremye objected to the state’s demand to deny FDC president Kizza Besigye bail after he denied charges of rioting and inciting violence.

The Police arrested over 100 people most of who were arrested in Kampala.

21.04.11 – About 15 women persistently pleaded with Col. Kizza Besigye to stop the walk to work campaign, saying they had lost relatives and their businesses had come to a halt. He agreed to drive away in his car but got out when he reached Kalerwe town, and started walking with the crowds, chanting FDC slogans and flashing the party’s symbol.

They walked up to Kubiri where they were stopped by anti-riot Police. Besigye was asked to get back to his car or use the Police van, which he refused to do. A scuffle broke out and the Police fired bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd. As they dispersed the crowd, the Police drove Besigye away.                                            

Besigye was taken to Nabweru Court where he together with Aaron Kaija, Jethro Nuwagaba and Francis Tumwijukye were accused of assembling at Kalerwe in a manner that would have breached peace. They denied the charges and applied for bail.

However, Chief Magistrate Justine Atukwasa sent Besigye to jail until April 27 when she would hear his bail application. Besigye was remanded to Nakasongola Prison.

Democratic Party president Nobert Mao and six other party members, who were remanded in Luzira Prison, were transferred to Nakasongola Prison following threats by DP youth to storm Luzira Prison to demonstrate against the incarceration of their party leaders.

In Masaka, Julian Nalwanga, a two-and-a-half year old baby girl, was killed by a stray bullet as the Police battled boda boda cyclists and mechanics during the walk to work protests.

Uganda People’s Congress leader Olara Otunnu safely ‘walked to work’ after Police escorted him from Lugogo to Uganda House. Budadiri West MP Nathan Nanadala Mafabi and Kumi MP Patrick Amuriat were also assigned police officers who escorted them from Nakawa to Parliament.

23.04.11 – Conservative Party president Ken Lukyamuzi was allowed to see Besigye and Mao at Nakasongola Prison.

25.04.11 – UPC’s Olara Otunnu and FDC’s Ann Mugisha were refused access to Nakasongola Prison when they went to visit both FDC and DP leaders Kizza Besigye and Nobert Mao because it was a public holiday. Otunnu was to first seek permission from the Commissioner of Prisons if he was to see them.

Profile: Walk-to-work campaign

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