The week from August 20 to August 26 has been action-packed. From protests over the detention of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine and brutality of journalists to Museveni’s social media statements, here we bring you a summary of week’s major news stories.
Monday, August 20: Kampala City on lockdown over Bobi Wine
Policemen backed by Military Police and UPDF officers on Monday engaged in running battles with protesters in the Kampala business district who were demanding the immediate release of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, who is incarcerated at Makindye Military Barracks.
The protests, which started from the notorious Kiseka Market later spread to other parts of downtown Kampala, including Old and New taxi parks, Nasser Road, Wandegeya, Mini Price, William Street, Kamwokya, Katwe, Makindye and Najjanakumbi among other areas.
In total, about 100 people were arrested.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018: Africa media group condemns the brutality of journalists covering Bobi Wine protests
The African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME), an organization that promotes professional journalism in Africa, on Tuesday condemned the arrest, torture and brutality of journalists by security officers during the Arua chaos and in Kampala over the detention of several Opposition MPs, including Robert Kyagulanyi, aka, Bobi Wine.
The new revelation is likely to deliver a big dent to the image of the army, which has for long touted itself as the only disciplined defence force in the history of the country and sought to differentiate itself from the armies of the past based on this front.
“Clearly, the security forces that have responded to protesters in the last week want to carry out their wanton abuse of the rights of Ugandans in darkness,” said Dr Peter Mwesige, the ACME Executive Director, in a statement released on Tuesday.
During the riots in Arua on August 13 and in Kampala on Monday, August 20, several journalists such Hebert Zziwa, Ronald Galiwango and Juma Kirya, all of NTV, James Akena of Reuters and Alfred Ochwo from the Observer were brutalised by security agencies while covering the riots. Akena has since sustained a clot in the back head as a result of the Monday beatings.
Wednesday, August 22. UPDF rocked by “torture with pliers” scandal
A day after the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen David Muhoozi, condemned the brutality of journalists by UPDF soldiers as they quelled the protests in Kampala on Monday, the army leadership was rattled by revelations that some of its soldiers used pairs of pliers to pluck skin from different bodies of some of those arrested during protests.
The new revelation is likely delivered a big dent to the image of the army, which has for long touted itself as the only disciplined defence force in the history of the country and sought to differentiate itself from the armies of the past based on this front.
Whereas several videos have emerged showing some plain-clothed and uniformed security officers beating up protesters, most especially journalists, this website has learnt that the army hierarchy has been particularly disturbed by the same videos showing some of its soldiers plucking layers of skin from some people who were arrested during the protests.
Wednesday, August 22. When artistes, politicians dedicated tortured MPs to God
On Wednesday, all roads led to Lubaga Catholic Cathedral in Kampala for mass dedicated to the Members of Parliament and people who were brutalized and arrested during the violence in Arua Municipality that also claimed the life of one person.
The Mass, which was organised by artistes, attracted thousands of people, among them opposition politicians. Leader of Opposition in Parliament Betty Aol Achan and her predecessor Winnie Kizza were among several MPs, mainly from the opposition, present.
Clad in T-shirts reading “Free Bobi Wine” and “Hon. Zaake Francis needs our prayers”, the artistes, in particular, were praying for one of their member, Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, who is incarcerated at Makindye Military Barracks, and his colleague, Mr Francis Zaake of Mityana Municipality, who is hospitalised at Rubaga Hospital with severe torture injuries.
Wednesday, August 22. I have no powers to release Bobi Wine, says Museveni
President Museveni said it is the courts that will determine the fate of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka, Bobi Wine, who was incarcerated at Makindye Military Barracks.
In another statement released on Wednesday evening, the President also accused opposition MPs of taking advantage of unemployed youth to lead them into protests.
“…unprincipled politicians who mislead our youth into rioting or actually pay them to riot or to commit arson must be condemned. Also to be criticized are the NRM leaders who do not engage these youth and squander resources in unnecessary foreign travels and other non- priority expenditures,” Mr Museveni said.
Thursday, August 23: Bobi Wine’s foreign lawyers vow to take on Museveni on an international front
Amsterdam & Partners LLP, the London based law firm that is part of Kyaddondo East legislator Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s legal team have dismissed the charges against the MP as fabricated and vowed to take on the government on an international front.
In a press release issued before the earlier charges against the MP were dropped in military court on Thursday morning but a new treason charge re-instated in the civil court, the lawyers said the “state’s ultimate goal is to “normalize” the violent persecution against opposition members like Kyagulanyi through the mimicry of legal procedure”.
“Amsterdam & Partners LLP is currently in the process of submitting petitions and applications before multiple international bodies, and is exploring the potential avenues for the application of individual sanctions against Ugandan officials involved in torture,” said Robert Amsterdam the firm’s founder.
The law firm, which has sent Mr Simon Wolfe, a Senior Associate, have protested what they called torture of the MP while in detention.
Thursday, August 23: Bobi Wine charged with treason
The Gulu Chief Magistrate’s Court has charged Kyadondo East MP Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine with treason and remanded him to Gulu Central Prison until August 30.
Shortly after the army court acquitted him of charges of being in possession of guns and ammunition on Thursday morning in Gulu, he was re-arrested by police and to the Gulu Chief Magistrate’s Court where his name was added to the list of 32 others, including three MPs, already charged with treason.
Thursday, August 23. Besigye, opposition big wigs homes under military siege as Bobi Wine comes to court
Security forces reportedly surrounded the homes of opposition leaders including that of former FDC President Kizza Besigye’s home in Kasangati ahead of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s appearance before the General Court Martial from Gulu military barracks.
Dr Besigye in a Twitter post confirmed the presence of armed forces at his residence in Kasangati.
Friday, August 24: Human Rights Commission demands prosecution of UPDF soldiers over torture
The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has asked the Judiciary to institute criminal proceedings against police and army officers who were involved in the brutal arrest and torture of civilians, including Members of Parliament, in Arua and Kampala.
Addressing journalists in Kampala on Friday, UHRC Executive Director Medi Kaggwa revealed the Commission had done thorough investigations, including visiting victims, and concluded that the army and police officers were involved in gross human rights violations.
Mr Kaggwa said his team had visited victims of the Arua chaos on August 13 and that of the Kampala and Mityana riots from where they recorded evidence of blatant disregard for human rights through torture by the security agencies.
Friday, August 24: Kayihura charged with Rwandan kidnaps, sent back to military jail
After spending over 72 days in the military detention, Kale Kayihura, the former Inspector General of Police, on Friday been formally charged before the General Court Martial (GCM) with three charges which he has denied.
Kayihura who appeared before the GCM chaired by Lt Gen Andrew Gutti was charged with two counts of failing to protect war materials and aiding or abetting kidnapping from Uganda.
Friday, August 24. Mowzey Radio murder prime suspect Troy denied bail
High court judge Jane Frances Abodo has declined to release on bail Godfrey Wamala alias Troy the prime suspect in the murder of local musician Moses Sekibogo alias Mowzey Radio.
Troy through his lawyer Mr Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi asked court to be released on bail pending his trial before the High court in Entebbe.
“Although the grounds for bail application are genuine with substantial sureties, this court has the desecration to either grant bail or deny it given the circumstances in some cases. This case is of a grave nature and releasing the applicant (Wamala) the public is at risk,” Justice Abodo ruled.
Saturday, August 25. Panic as unknown people attempt to grab frail MP Zaake from Lubaga Hospital
Unknown people attempted to grab Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake from his hospital bed at Lubaga Hospital on Friday night, his family has revealed.
Mr Zaake is nursing severe injuries at the hospital sustained at the hands of security operatives who brutalised him after he was arrested following the chaos in Arua municipality by-election on August 13.
And now his family members have said on Friday night, some plain-clothed men attempted to forcibly take Mr Zaake off his hospital bed and take him to an unknown destination.