By Katongole Kiwanuka -A Planned demonstration by the opposition in Uganda has been quashed by the heavy deployment of armed police personnel on all roads leading into the capital, Kampala.
The opposition had planned what they called the ‘walk-to-work’ campaign in protest to escalating commodity prices in Uganda. The organisers; Retired Col. Kiiza Besigye, a former presidential aspirant on the ticket of the allied opposition party – Inter Party Cooperation (IPC), Conservative Party president John Ken Lukyamuzi and a host of opposition Members of Parliament like Mathias Mpuuga of Masaka Municipality and Mukono Municipality’s Betty Nambooze Bakireke had last week decided to walk from their residences to their places of work to supposedly identify with what they termed as other suffering Ugandans.
However, the Inspector General of police has been against this act right from the start and on Sunday he explained that “rather than a peaceful walk, there are plans of disrupting normal life within Kampala City, create chaos and make the capital city, and by extension, the country, ungovernable”.
Early today, policemen armed with rifles and others sticks and batons were visible on major roads ready to stifle any opposition.
The opposition under their newly created pressure group ‘Activists For Change’ had planned a series of activities ranging from prayers, conferences and peace walks in protest against the rising fuel and other commodity prices. Currently, a litre of petrol in Uganda costs close to $2 which has increased the transport costs in the country as well as consumer commodity prices.
FDC supremo Kiiza Besigye was reported to be arrested early today as he attempted to walk from his residence in Gayaza to his party offices in Najjanankumbi.
Reports from eye witnesses say that he was made to sit down for about twenty minutes before a police pick-up truck whisked him away.
Though the situation has become unbearable for many people including schools that have been forced to return students early for holidays, Finance minister Syda Bbumba attributed the rise in prices of most commodities to elections, drought, and the geo-political situation in the Middle East.
“Uganda being an agricultural country, our food production and exports were greatly affected by drought. It is not true that we pumped a lot of money into the economy through campaigns,” she was quoted by the state owned New Vision in March.
A loaf of bread that was Ush2400 in February is now at Shs3000. The Situation is still calm as the opposition was yet to comment about the police actions.
NB: The table attached has been used from www.independent.co.ug