12 June 2018

Ugandan Leader Calls for Banning Hoodies, Requiring Tracking of Vehicles

Photo: The Observer
Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga’s bullet-riddled car.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni on Monday called for banning hooded jackets and requiring tracking devices on all motorized vehicles, following Friday's murder of a legislator.

Ibrahim Abiriga, a member of Parliament, was shot to death Friday evening when assailants allegedly sprayed his car with bullets as it approached his home about 10 kilometers outside this capital city. Abiriga's bodyguard, Saidi Kongo Buga, also was slain, according to local news reports.

Witnesses said two attackers riding motorcycles and wearing so-called hoodies intercepted Abiriga's car. However, no suspects have been identified, and police have said nothing about a possible motive. Last fall, a can of gasoline was thrown at Abiriga's home, but it did not ignite.

Abiriga, whose military career included serving as an army officer in the 1970s during Idi Amin's rule, was known for wearing yellow clothing to show support for his party, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).

At Abiriga's burial Monday, Museveni was visibly angry and promised to pursue the assailants.

"Why do you kill an elected leader of the people of Uganda?" he asked rhetorically, wondering aloud why opposition lawmakers weren't attacked. "If you start a war with NRM, you will lose."

Museveni complained that hoodies enable people to conceal their faces, hampering the search for Abiriga's killers. "So," the president said, "we are going to ban wearing this hooded jacket when you are driving or you are on a bike."

Museveni repeated the government's proposal to install closed-circuit TV cameras on highways across the entire the country. He also directed that electronically monitored devices be mounted on all cars and motorcycles to enable security agencies to track them.

The president said he would divert some infrastructure spending toward these security measures. Abiriga's shooting death is part of an unexplained new wave of murders and kidnappings across Uganda.

Felix Okot Ogong, another NRM parliamentarian, condemned Museveni's proposed security measures.

"You can't install cameras everywhere because Ugandans are dying everywhere. So, you can't only be planning for people on the streets here," he said, adding that the president "should come out with holistic methods or measures" to curb crime.

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