Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There was chaos in different city suburbs on Monday as police battled People Power activists protesting the death of their colleague, who they said was knocked by a police patrol vehicle.
Ritah Nabukenya, 28 who was commonly known as Priya in People Power circles was traveling on a Boda boda on her way to attend a consultative meeting by their leader, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine in Ndeeba when an accident claimed her life.
Bobi Wine and his People Power colleagues said she was knocked by police patrol vehicle registration number UP 4841 around Nakawa market, a version that Police has denied.
Police denied this, saying it was a boda boda to boda boda accident, and they only helped to deliver the injured activist to Mulago. Police in a statement said two boda bodas crashed into each other, as one of them try to overtake the patrol car.
— Asan Kasingye (@AKasingye) February 24, 2020
Although people power supporters insist that the deceased was intentionally knocked, police has refuted the allegations. The Deputy Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigire, says the Boda boda, which was carrying the deceased, tried to overtake the police vehicle and ended up colliding with another motorcycle.
“It was the patrol vehicle that rushed her to the hospital. We have gotten to learn that she succumbed to the injuries sustained during the accident and passed on,” said Owoyesigire. Owoyesigire notes that police has stated investigating the matter by recording statements from eye witness and the officers who were on the police vehicle. He also says they intend to retrieve CCTV footage to confirm what exactly happened.
Fateful boda ride
The deceased’s sister, Prossy Namaganda says Nabukenya was returning from Mukono-Seeta when she was knocked. “She called in the morning and notified me that I should pack for her some people power clothes, which she was to wear before joining her colleagues,” she said.
Namaganda however, says that she was called only to be told that her sister had been knocked by police and admitted at Mulago National Referral Hospital. “By the time I reached Mulago she was still alive and in pain. She couldn’t say anything. I watched her breathing her last,” she told URN with tears rolling down her cheeks.
Nabukenya’s death spread on social media shortly after it was shared by Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu on his accounts. “Yet again, our supporter and leader in the people power movement has been run over and killed by police. Nabukenya Rita was on her way to Kampala on a motorcycle when police spotted her and ran after her…,” read the tweet in parts.
The tweet came out at the time when several people power supporters were moving from Buganda Road Court, where their principal had gone for trial. Some of the rowdy youths changed their course and moved towards Mulago National Referral Hospital.
They staged a protest at the city mortuary demanding for the deceased’s body but police couldn’t let them inside leading to running battles at the hospital. The protests spread to Kubiri, Kavule, Mawanda road, Kalerwe and Bwaise within a very short time.
“Release her body, we want it,” the youth chanted in unison as others accused police officers of being used as killing machines to suppress them. The protests paralysed transport and business in the affected areas. A yet to be established number of youths were arrested by police.