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Post by sol_drethedon on Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:17 pm


When I saw on TV what happened at KCCA on Monday morning of November 25, and what has become routine violent repression of regime opponents, Madiba's statement came to mind. On April 20th, 1964 Nelson Mandela at the opening of his trial in the Supreme Court of South Africa made a historic statement that increasingly resonates with the Uganda of today. He said, among other things, the following:
"I came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be unrealistic to continue preaching peace and non-violence. This conclusion was not easily arrived at. It was only when all else had failed, when channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle. I can only say that I failed morally obliged to do what I did"

No one in the whole wide world expected that things would turn out the way they are today in Uganda. Even participants in the worst of repressive incidents, like Tinyefuza, are appalled by the turn of events. Every new day dawns with new surprises. You do not need to do anything wrong, it is enough to be classified under some opposition classification and it does not matter which political party you belong to.

Hitherto Nsereko, Sekikubo and their friends and Natthan Byanyima and many others considered genuinely NRM, have suffered worse than some people in opposition. But the targeting of some individuals as "banned" persons is unprecedented. Dr. Kizza Besigye and Erias Lukwago and a few people associated with them have become targets of untold brutality and violence, not because of the danger they possess to regime survival, but more to cause fear among the rest of the population. If Dr. Besigye, a former minister, former senior UPDF officer, former NRM National Political Commissar, former opposition political party leader with international connections and Mr. Lukwago, elected mayor of the capital city can be mistreated in bthe manner the whole world has witnessed, then ordinary people should know what to expect if they dare protest. This is the message. There are no rights, there are no freedoms, there is no law, it is the rule of force and violence enforced by armed police officers in company of kiboko squads escorted by mambas (APCs) also armed with tear gas and water cannons.

This is what was at KCCA before it spread to many parts of the city. At 10am, Lukwago's application to court was due to be heard, so as KCCA council meeting was called at 9am to impeach Lukwago, Lukwago's people moved fast and a court injunction was issued before Lukwago's dismissal process was started. The police then moved into action and attempted to quarter (divide into four parts by pulling him apart by the legs and arms) the lawyer who was taking the court order to KCCA. Some of the Kampala MPs who are ex-officio members of KCCA, were rudely evicted from the KCCA grounds. A KCCA Councillor who handed a copy of the court order to the council chairman was forcefully ejected from the Council and then the court order was declared a forgery without any examination by an expert. Lukwago, the subject of all these violent scenes was lying in hospital, a victim of frequent beatings and bodily tortures inflicted on him by the police during arrest and illegal incarceration in various police cells.This Lukwago, is not just anybody. He was elected the first Lord Mayor of Kampala after serving a term in parliament and is a well known Kampala advocate. Then just imagine how the nobodies are treated.

As this drama was playing out in Kampala, a by-election was taking place in Bukanga constituency, pittying Nathan Byanyima, NRM independent against a regime favourite "NRM" candidate. The FDC had also fielded a candidate but 17 of his agents , with official letters/"passes" of accreditation by the Electoral Commission with attached photographs, were arrested and detained by the police with some of Byanyima's supporters until after the elections.

Elections, the impeachment of an elected mayor, are conducted as security operations and increasingly all peaceful expressions of opposition views and positions are blocked by violent means. And without any dialogue taking place, many will see counter violence as the only alternative.


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