Police officers in Kampala spent the better part of Friday morning and afternoon, arresting prominent opposition members who were planning to hold a fundraising campaign to raise money for the re-opening of Makerere University. The planned activities were scheduled to take place at the university’s freedom square.
Former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye, who had called for the fundraising, was blocked from leaving his Kasangati home in Wakiso District. Besigye said he had intended to ferry a cow that he wanted to auction at Makerere.
In anticipation of chaos, police deployed heavily at the university’s main gate and all major entrances into the university, like the campus Eastern and Western gates.
Politicians including Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa Sserunga and the KCCA LC5 Woman Councillor for Makerere University Doreen Nyanjura were arrested for reportedly attempting to defy an order from Police not to hold any function at Freedom Square. Makerere University chief security officer Jackson Mucunguzi ordered the fundraising group not to go past the university main gate to the planned venue.
The arrests came after the expiry of a 10-day ultimatum given by Besigye to the government by to re-open the university. The politician plans to mobilize the public to raise sh28 billion that lecturers are demanding in arrears.
Munyagwa, who was in the company of Margaret Wokuri Madada, another FDC female activist, was pulled out of his Prado, and bundled onto a waiting police truck before being driven away to Wandegeya Police Station.
Am being blocked fm delivering my contribution of Guernsey Cow & UShs 3m. Will find a way!! Meantime, let’s open online channels 4 pledges. pic.twitter.com/fcxGsdQrXL
— Kifefe Kizza-Besigye (@kizzabesigye1) December 2, 2016
A fracas ensued when Munyagwa tried to resist arrest reasoning that he had come to visit his voters in Makerere University being part of Kawempe South, which is his constituency.
Munyagwa added that he was a student in the university doing a Bachelor’s of Law and therefore he had come for a good cause of mobilizing for funds so that his right to education is not violated.
Mucunguzi told Munyagwa that the university was closed by the president until further notice and that only specific categories of people could be allowed into the university.
“The only people we are allowing into the university are workers of Exel construction company who are working on building sites, those working in bank branches in the university, workers of Infectious Diseases Institute and those going for prayers at St. Francis Chapel, St. Augustine and the Muslim mosque after convincing us before presenting their identity card,” said Mucunguzi.
As he explained this, FDC secretary for mobilization Ingrid Turinawe arrived with a goat, donned in a T-shirt with words “Re open Makerere University”. She was arrested and taken to an unknown destination.
Other leaders that were arrested include KCCA LC5 councilor for Kawempe 3 Mohammad Segirinya and Muluka 3 councillor to Kawempe division Harris Justus Akmpurira.
Also picked up was Guild Representative council for the school of education, Simon Wanyera and Brian Katana, a law student.
They had come with various items like oranges and bananas that they wanted to auction at the fundraising to raise money for paying lecturers. Lecturers in October went on strike over arrears, that were followed by student protests after which President Museveni ordered to closure of Makerere until a Visitation Committee report on the way forward.