UGANDA: Women Protestors Storm State House

Monday, August 2, 2010
Bareebe Gerald Blog
Eastern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 

Women from the Interparty Cooperation yesterday vented their anger against the Electoral Commission by placing flyers denouncing the EC boss, Badru Kiggundu, at the State House gate in Nakasero. Some flyers read “Say no to Kiggundu”, “Fire Kiggundu for free and fair elections”.

Soldiers at the gate looked on as the women chanted anti-Museveni and anti-Kiggundu slogans, accusing them of conspiring to rig the 2011 elections. The group was commanded by Forum for Democratic Change Women league chairperson, Ingrid Turinawe and her deputy, Nyakato Rusoke.

“The reason why we have dumped these anti-Kiggundu flyers at the entrance to the State House is to show the boss that we are tired of him and that we want him out,” said Ms Lillian Masia, one of the 33 women who participated in the demonstration.

Earlier, the same group had appeared before Buganda Road Court to answer charges of unlawful assembly but the trial magistrate was absent, forcing court to adjourn the case to August 27.

“No magistrate, no witness, no court and we cannot do anything in this country,” said Ms Resty Nakitende, who was later arrested and taken to CPS with her one -year-old baby.

As the women moved towards IPC offices on Katonga Road, they were intercepted by four police trucks with anti-riot offcials. Four of them were arrested but the other 26 disbanded, and later converged at Plot 6 Katonga Road, where they engaged police in a cat-and-mouse game.

Anticipating more chaos, police sealed off Katonga Road disrupting traffic to Hannington, Kyadondo and Yusuf Lule roads. Mr Moses Kafeero, the Kampala South Police commander, who is expected in court next week to answer charges of stuffing the mouth of an opposition women's leader with pepper spray, offered to mediate.

Mr Ewan Patrick, the anti-Riot police commander said the Force had successfully blocked the women from marching to the Electoral Commission offices on Jinja Road.
“We got information that these women, with their T-shirts on, were trying to march towards the EC offices; that is why we moved in to stop them,” Mr Ewan said yesterday.

There was excitement as FDC president Kizza Besigye arrived at Katonga Road. The women narrated their ordeal to him as anti-riot police looked on from a distance. “Which crime does one commit by wearing a T-shirt with words that demand a free and fair election?” Dr Besigye asked.

The women on Tuesday staged country-wide anti-EC demonstrations, which left about 62 arrested. Some were charged with holding an unlawful assembly while others were released without charge.