Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Relatives of people who were killed in the November 18-19 riots are still asking for justice one year later.
Speaking at a memorial service organized by the National Unity Platform-NUP in Kampala, relatives and politicians alike said although President Yoweri Museveni promised to hold to account some of those who killed their people and also compensate them, one year later, nothing has happened.
Aisha Nantume, mother to 21 one-year-old Innocent Ndugwa who was killed at St Balikudembe market said it will be very hard for them to forget their slain relatives, if those who killed them are not brought to book.
Grieving relatives who spoke at the memorial service told stories of how their people were killed. Prossy Nakaweesa, the sister to Kusasira Sophia who was killed at Kalerwe market where she was a food vendor said on the fateful day, her sister was hit by a bullet when she had gone to take food to a customer.
For Sseggwanyi Isaiah Lutalo whose brother Kayondo Willy was shot and killed at Kubbiri roundabout, they will never recover from the statement by the police that he was shot while he tried to grab a phone from somebody.
For Magala Hassan whose 14-year-old brother Ismail Mukiibi was shot at Nansana, his killing gave him reason to oppose President Museveni’s government. He wondered what crime a senior two student could have committed for him to deserve such a painful death.
In the aftermath of the killings, President Museveni also said that his government would also compensate those who had been wounded in the two-day mayhem. However, Muhwezi Emmanuel, a chapatti seller who was shot and the bullet is still lodged in his body said he has never received any such compensation.
David Lewis Rubongoya, the Secretary-General of NUP, in a poem called upon Ugandans to use the November killings as a springboard to ending Museveni’s 36-year hold onto power. He said despite the setback, last year’s killings should never be allowed to happen again.
For his part, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the President of NUP also called upon President Museveni to walk the talk and hold those who carried out the killings to account. Kyagulanyi said although November 18-19, saw the highest number of people killed on the same day, such killings went on way before and after those two dates.
On November 18, 2020, riots broke out in Kampala and other major towns across the country after police arrested the then presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu while he campaigned in Luuka district.
In a bid to suppress them, security forces mounted a nationwide crackdown which resulted in the killing of a number of people and wounding others. The official count put the death toll to 60 however, those in the know say more than 100 people were shot and killed some at very close range.
Nothing is known about the investigation that the president ordered to establish how people especially those killed by stray bullets died.