Yesterday, police arrested about nine opposition youth leaders for conducting an illegal assembly in Kampala.
The youth under the umbrella of the ‘Democratic Alliance Youth Wing’ were picked from Centenary Park during a press conference convened to condemn the arrest of former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, former FDC President, Dr Kizza Besigye, and a number of their supporters on Thursday.
The arrested; Andrew Karamagi, Kennedy Oluma from Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA), Shaban Kalema, Brian Babilebo and Zerida Akai, among others were first detained at Jinja Road police station.
They were to later be produced at City Hall Court but could not be charged because there was no police file following their arrest.
“We have been whisked to Nagalama Police because the crowds of youth are surging. No file, no charge, no nothing. Our crime is addressing a press conference condemning the arrest of our leaders,” said Paga Gloria, one of the girls arrested during the crackdown.
FDC Women League leader, Ingrid Turinawe, says six more activists including Caleb Muwanguzi, Nalongo Hamida, Fiona Buyinza, Hakim, and Muwonge Timothy were also arrested from Nagalama police station where they had gone to visit their colleagues.
The six were arrested “after electricity being switched off, amidst live bullets, teargas and pepper spray”.
“They found those they had gone to visit being beaten like cows with batons, females and males locked up in chains in the same cell…including girls Paga Gloria and Zeridah Kakayi…,” narrates FDC Preacher, Doreen Nyanjura.
This is the message youth meant to give out on their press conference:
We Leaders of the Democratic Alliance have this morning heard that some of our members namely Dr. Kizza Besigye and Hon. Amama Mbabazi have been arrested by the police and prevented from selling themselves in preparation for vying for the highest political office of our country.
The two leaders have not committed any crime apart from indicating that they aspire to occupy the position of President of Uganda.
This is not the first time Dr. Besigye is being arrested for no crime committed.
He has been arrested and harassed many times over fabricated charges ever since he declared his interest to contest for the position President in 2000, fifteen years ago.
This is also the crime Hon. Mbabazi is seen to have committed recently.
In all this intolerance and brazen violation of these leaders’ human rights, Government has used the police as their partisan force.
The Government continued to use double standards by the police in application of the law.
Out of fear to lose power, Government is engaged in persecuting political opponents.
From its actions, we can see clearly that the government is scared and panicking and desperate as we move towards the general elections.
Government has refused to see reason and the ugly reality on the ground that the country faces.
Government has refused the path of dialogue and has opted for the path of force, violence and arrogance.
Slowly we as the opposition are being pushed against the wall. All civil and peaceful avenues are being closed.
Government has deliberately delayed electoral reforms and simply ignored the peoples’ demands and proposals for the electoral reforms.
We wish to call upon the government to listen to reason, to respect the citizens’ fundamental human rights in the interest of us all.
At the same time, we wish to condemn in the strongest terms the arresting of Dr. Kizza Besigye and Hon. Amama and others this morning.
Warning: Such actions may lead to promotion of non-peaceful wars of political actions.
This should be avoided but if government continues its repressive course, the people will not take it lying down