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MP Mugema arrested over hospital demo

By Vision Reporter

Added 29th July 2013 10:59 PM

Iganga hospital was engulfed in chaos Monday afternoon following the arrest of Iganga Municipality Member of Parliament Peter Mugema for leading a demonstration.

MP Mugema arrested over hospital demo

Iganga hospital was engulfed in chaos Monday afternoon following the arrest of Iganga Municipality Member of Parliament Peter Mugema for leading a demonstration.

By Donald Kiirya

Iganga hospital was engulfed in chaos Monday afternoon following the arrest of Iganga Municipality Member of Parliament Peter Mugema for leading a demonstration.

Mugema led a demonstration Iganga hospital compound protesting the deplorable state of the hospital.  Mugema said Iganga General Hospital in its sorry state lacks water and is unhygienic.

Mugema walked around the wards with residents carrying placards with messages appealing to government to come to their rescue.

Attempts by the Iganga District Police Commander, Herbert Nuwagaba, to block the demonstration met resistance from riled residents.

A verbal exchange then ensued between Nuwagaba and Mugema which prompted patients and their caretakers to flee the wards to watch the commotion that had broken out at the hospital.

Mugema kept asking residents loudly in Lusoga that ‘Mwenda kii’ meaning ‘What do you want?’ They chorused in Lusoga that ‘twendha maadhi’ meaning ‘We want water!’   

After Nuwagaba failed to contain Mugema and protesting residents, he called in his boss, Agapitus Ecotu, the Busoga East regional Police Commander to intervene with Anti-riot Police.

Ecotu faced off with Mugema as he battled Police officers who attempted to arrest some of his supporters.

Ecotu then ordered for the MP's arrest after receiving orders from Director of Operations, Grace Turyagumanawe. Mugema was made to sit down and later whisked to Iganga Central Police Station.

Residents witnessed a scuffle as Police dragged Mugema outside the hospital to a waiting patrol Pickup truck. After he was subdued he was forced to the front seat as Ecotu sat beside him.

Residents further complained of poor sanitation at the hospital adding that the birth rooms outside the maternity ward were all littered with used sanitary pads and human waste.

They said they could not stand the state of the hospital and also cited the consistent lack of drugs. They said doctors resort to referring them to clinics outside the hospital to buy carnulers, syringes and needles plus other drugs.    

Mugema told Journalists that the problem turned into a disaster since the operation theatre and labour ward were run out of water.

He said he raised the issue in Parliament on Tuesday last week and the Speaker directed the Minister of Health to act accordingly but nothing has been done, prompting him to go on a sit down hunger strike with residents.

“National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) disconnected the hospital from its water pump because of a debt of shs62m. The hospital has one borehole that also serves the community,” Mugema noted.

Mugema said they passed a budget last year of shs7.2bn to renovate Iganga hospital but the Ministry of Health tells them that they are still looking for contractors to do the renovation.

He added that lack of water in the hospital had led to the death of about six children last week.

Agapitus Ecotu, the Busoga East regional Police Commander said Mugema had requested for a sit down strike but was joined by rowdy residents and degenerated into chaos.

“This forced us to go and talk to him first but when he was not heeding to our talk to leave the hospital or remain alone so that others go away, it tantamounted to arresting him,” Ecotu said.

He noted that President Museveni promised that the hospital would be catered for in this budget.

Milton Muwuma, the Kigulu South Member of Parliament, arrived at Iganga Police to rescue Mugema.

He said that they are mobilizing money to buy another water pump for the hospital.  Mugema was later released without charge.

MP Mugema arrested over hospital demo

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