Grace Ssozi Nambaale NRM women councillor Nakulabye dancing with NRM youths shortly after her arrival. Photo by Beatrice Leni.
By Beatrice Leni
A meeting called by some National Resistance Movement (NRM) leaders in Nakulabye a Kampala suburb to promote the deletion of Article 102(b) from the Constitution turned rowdy on Monday afternoon.
The meeting was convened by Grace Ssozi Nambaale, the NRM women councillor for Nakulabye at Paya Gardens today.
About 150 youths had gathered to front the removal of the 75-year age limit, in essence allowing President Yoweri Museveni to extend his over 30-year rule.
This campaign is a counter project against the opposition-led, “Kogikwatwako” campaign against the removal of the presidential age limit.
The youths from Kiwunya in Nakulabye arrived at the venue first, followed by another group from Kisenyi and Kisekka market. Each one was given a T-shirt inscribed with the words, “Tutereze Article 102(b) and “Mzee abeewo” literally meaning Museveni should remain in power.
Some of the youths were carrying sachets of waragi (crude potent gin) and also smoked weed (marijuana) in the open gardens as they waited for the function to kick off.
Trouble started when Nambaale failed to turn up at 11 a.m., the scheduled time for the meeting to start.
Matters were made worse after some youths from the different factions started fighting over T-shirts being distributed to them. The factions from Kisekka and Kisenyi ganged up against those from Kiwunya, accusing them of trying to disrupt the meeting.
A police officer who had been deployed at the venue was seen making frantic calls to his commander to send back up, as the youths engaged in a fist fight, leaving one of them badly injured.
A police pick-up truck turned up 40 minutes after the fracas started and broke up the two groups.
At about 12 p.m., Ssozi drove into the venue to wild cheers from the youths, who jumped atop her vehicle, chanting NRM slogans.
Ssozi later called on the youths to calm down before she could address them. Some of the youths who were given opportunity to speak complained that they had been neglected by government, citing the Youth Livelihood Programme, which they claim has been restricted to the elite youths.
They chanted that they will only support President Museveni’s hold onto power if he can provide startup capital for them to open up small-scale businesses.
In response, Ssozi assured them that funds will be disbursed to them as long as they organise themselves into groups and create Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies where the money can be deposited.
Earlier, a similar and more organised meeting was convened at Nakivubo, led by an NRM councillor identified as Faridah Mayanja.
However, Police blocked them from holding their meetings at Kafumbe Mukasa and Kisekka markets, saying it would disrupt business in the areas.
It is still unclear whether the NRM party is directly involved in the sf this campaigns. However Ssozi insists that this is her own initiative to counter the opposition’s “Kogikwatako” being championed by the Democratic Party.