By Mary Kisakye
Two people have reportedly been killed in a scuffle involving police and Rukungiri residents who were protesting the amendment of Article 102 (b) of the Constitution to scrap the age cap for persons aspiring for the Presidency of the country.
Trouble started when police attempted to block Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Kaginda from consulting his voters on the contentious bill tabled by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi.
Hon Kaginda was scheduled to address a rally at Rukungiri stadium. However, news that the FDC legislator was to be accompanied by FDC strong man and former Presidential aspirant Dr Kizza Besigye, Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and FDC presidential aspirant Patrick Amuriat Oboi seemed to have rubbed police and the area authorities the wrong way.
Consequently,heavily armed police deployed in the municipality and closed the Rukungiri Stadium where the rally was to be held and barred locals from wearing red ribbons.
In the scuffle that ensued, a man only identified as Kakuru and another yet to be identified were fatally shot. Kakuru, a resident of Kafunjo in the eastern division of Rukungiri Municipality, according to eyewitnesses, was hit by a stray bullet. He was working as a taxi tout.
The police allegedly opened fire when the surging crowd tried to force their way into the stadium. In the process, Besigye’s car was hit by an object which opposition say was a bullet.
Rukungiri District Police Commander, Richard Emuna, said Kaginda had not notified police about the planned rally.
“Police did not get prior communication from Kaginda about the planned rally,” Emuna said.
This compelled opponents of the age limit bill to camp at the gate of the venue before embarking on a procession through Rukungiri Town. The procession was led by Dr Besigye and other FDC big wigs, including secretary for mobilisation Ingrig Turinawe.
Mammoth crowds wearing red ribbons chanted “Togikwatako” slogans as they marched through the town.
Police decided to use live bullets and teargas to disperse the crowds and in turn, opposition supporters responded by hurling stones at police in a battle that lasted over one hour.
By press time, enraged protesters were marching to the police station to protest the death of their colleagues.
But the defiant Kaginda in a telephone conversation with PML Daily said he doesn’t need any permission to consult.
Police has of recent used brutal force to disperse those protesting against the amendment of Article 102(b) of the Constitution. Yesterday, police used live bullets to disperse protesters who had turned up to hear the anti-age limit amendment gospel from Opposition legislators.