Police today forcefully broke up a rally called by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago in downtown Kampala, as part of his efforts to appeal to his supporters in the face of a campaign to remove him from office.
A Kenyan national was feared dead in the resulting fracas. At 8am today, Herbert Nsubuga, a spare parts dealer in Kisekka market, reached his work station. But the huge police presence at his workplace raised his suspicion. He went ahead and opened the shop anyway.
A few hours later, all hell broke loose. The police sealed off Kisekka market for several hours as they fought running battles with protesters. Tear gas canisters and bullets were unleashed in a bid to break up the rally that was to be addressed by Lukwago and Dr Kizza Besigye, the former FDC leader.
"The two, who were accompanied by some [other] politicians, were due to address people about the continued wrangling in KCCA," one trader said.
Riot police led by James Ruhweza, the DPC Kampala Central Police Station, picked up Besigye, who was travelling in a grey Land Cruiser, and whisked him off to CPS. Lukwago was also picked up a few metres away from Kisekka market. Many traders fled the market and took refuge at Mukwano arcade along Kyaggwe road as chaos ensued.
By 1:30pm, Military Police had moved in to help riot police contain the situation. Police say a Kenyan national, a boda boda cyclist named Steven Kyalo Muehini, was fatally shot, while two other people were injured seriously and admitted to Mulago hospital.
Besigye and his two bodyguards, Fred Kato and Sam Mugumya, were later detained at CPS. The former FDC leader was later transferred to Kiira Division Police Station, where he was still being held by the time we went to press. Meanwhile, Lukwago was reported to be seeking medical attention at Case hospital along Buganda Road, having earlier been suffocated by tear gas.
Deputy Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango said police moved in after receiving intelligence information that the lord mayor had planned to cause mayhem in the city - burn buildings, riot and loot.
"He had planned to move through the city centre, DP offices, Kisekka and Owino markets," Onyango said.
Fourteen other people were arrested and detained at CPS on charges of participating in an illegal activity. More demonstrations have been planned for today, according to opposition sources.