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Buganda MP arrested over riots

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Dr. Chapa Kiuno, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. Dr. Chapa Kiuno

    Dr. Chapa Kiuno JF-Expert Member

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    Monitor Team

    Security agents yesterday picked up Kyaddondo South MP Issa Kikungwe as the government moved to crack down on alleged ring leaders of the violent riots that engulfed Kampala following strained relations between the central government and Buganda Kingdom.

    As Mr Kikungwe was being picked up from Lweza Catholic parish where he had been invited to preside over the youth day celebrations as chief guest, Police chief Kale Kayihura told journalists that another victim of the violence had died, bringing the total deaths to 15. (See story on page 5).

    Eyewitness said the Democratic Party MP was called out in the middle of the church mass that had preceded the celebrations and whisked away in a tinted white Land Rover Reg. No. UAJ 602Q by plain clothed security operatives; bringing the celebrations to an instant end.

    Ms Judith Nabakooba, the police spokesperson said last evening that Mr Kikungwe was arrested in connection with the riots that started in Kampala but spread to at least five other districts of Mukono, Kayunga, Mityana, Mubende and Masaka following a decision by the government to block Kabaka Ronald Mutebi’s scheduled visit to Kayunga. “According to information available so far, he (Mr Kikungwe) is one of the ring leaders who incited violence in Kampala,” Ms Nabakooba told Daily Monitor by telephone.

    It was not clear where the MP was being held by press time. DP Secretary General Mathias Nsubuga told Daily Monitor yesterday that colleagues and family were still tracing for the whereabouts of Mr Kikungwe. In an different incident, the Police yesterday deployed heavily to stop Makindye East MP Michael Mabikke from addressing a rally in Kabalagala.

    The arrest of Mr Kikungwe came on the backdrop of a government warning to the DP and the Forum for Democratic Change leaders from politicising Buganda Kingdom issues. “The government has noted that there are certain elements dragging cultural institutions into partisan politics in contravention of Article 246 of the Constitution,” acting Information Minister Daudi Migereko told journalists at the media centre.

    Mr Migereko, who singled out the FDC and DP, said the government will not hesitate to act. But FDC spokesman Wafula Oguttu laughed off Mr Migereko’s warning saying the party will continue to engage the Kabaka just as President Museveni does. DP President General Ssebaana Kizito said the party was not about to stop consulting or interacting with the Kabaka, because among others – they were his subjects.

    “Mr Migereko does not understand these matters he should concentrate on Busoga’s affairs. We are Kabaka’s subjects, so how can we avoid him?” Mr Ssebaana asked.

    Museveni, Kabaka to meet this week
    Yesterday’s developments came in the wake of emerging information that President Museveni and the Kabaka are this week expected to meet for showdown talks.

    Sources close to the Presidency told Daily Monitor yesterday that Mr Museveni placed a telephone call to Mr Mutebi on Saturday, speaking for close to an hour and an agreement was made for round table face-to-face discussions.

    The sources also indicated that President Museveni sent an emissary in Maj. Roland Kakooza Mutale, a Muganda and a presidential adviser on military affairs, to meet the Kabaka at the weekend. Maj. Mutale is also the head of special duties in the President’s Office. Daily Monitor has learnt that the matter also formed part of discussions at a meeting of the National Security Council chaired by Internal Affairs Minister Kirunda Kivejinja on Saturday.

    Although Mr Kivejinja confirmed yesterday that the meeting took place, he declined to offer specifics about the discussions but admitted: “That is like asking me did you eat food? Of course I ate....My primary job is to make sure that there is peace and security internally in the country. I can tell you, we are on top of these events.”

    Although Daily Monitor could not readily establish when the Museveni-Mutebi meeting will take place, preliminary demands by Mengo and Mr Museveni’s administration offer the clearest indication on when such a meeting can take place.

    Buganda Kingdom has demanded that its official radio, Central Broadcasting Service (CBS), be switched back on the air even as sources informed this newspaper yesterday that President Museveni has set meeting the Kabaka as a condition for CBS to get back on the air.

    The development came as news trickled in of a hushed attempt by the government and Mengo, the seat of Buganda kingdom, to mend fences at the weekend but hardline positions pushed by both sides bore no fruit.

    Local leadership from Bugerere County in Kayunga District, the epicentre of the latest confrontation between Mengo and the central government, met Mr Kivejinja and Maj. Mutale on Saturday to reach a compromise on Kabaka Mutebi’s trip to the area, where the Banyala and Baruuli are pushing for a breakaway from Buganda.

    County Chief Martin Ssevume, who led Buganda’s delegation, said the meeting ended with no headway after the government reportedly insisted that Buganda should first seek permission from Banyala leader Baker Kimeze Mpagi before the Kabaka visits Kayunga. “The central government’s demand that we write to [Mr] Kimeze is out of reach, it’s something we cannot do,” Mr Ssevume said yesterday.

    Buganda Cabinet meets today
    That stand-off is a matter that will form part of discussions at today’s sitting of the Buganda cabinet. Kingdom Attorney General Apollo Makubuya said the meeting will also establish a special committee to “bail out” Kingdom youth who were arrested during the riots, as well as planned visits by the Kabaka to hospitals where victims of those injured during the clashes are admitted.
    “After all that has happened, we now want to share grief time together with the victims and families of those who lost their loved ones,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the Kabaka’s programme to visit various parts of the kingdom remains as scheduled, said Mr Kabuuza Mukasa, Mengo’s minister in charge of royal travels. He said the Kabaka will visit his subjects on September 18 and 20 in Wakiso and Masaka districts. “He will also officiate at the Youth Day Celebrations which must be held in Kayunga no matter how long it might delay,” Mr Kabuuza said yesterday.

    At the height of last week’s riots, which claimed several lives, President Museveni said until Mengo sits down with the dissenting community in Kayunga and CBS radio stops what he described as a negative campaign against the NRM and inciting people against the Police, Kabaka Mutebi’s visit to the district would not take place.

    Reported by Emmanuel Gyezaho, Robert Mwanje, Mercy Nalugo, Martin Ssebuyiira, Isaac Imaka, Ismail Musa Ladu and Richard Wanambwa.