With two days to the start of the elections, campaigns are coming to a climax. Climaxes are the exciting and most important events in a process. However, the climax of election campaigns in Uganda seems to defy the sweetness of climaxes because it is headed for a poignant state.
During today’s morning, the leading (according to the popularity), opposition, presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye was temporarily detained in a police station. The police attributed his arrest to defiance of traffic regulations in the city center as Besigye tried to maneuver through the main road through the capital. The police argue that his choice of path yields insecurity, traffic congestion and potential vandalisation of property in the city.
Much as the police’s argument was in favor of a peaceful and secure city, their actions to effect that were not! As Besigye decided to proceed to his scheduled rallies with his massive following, the police fired the first round of tear gas to halt his movements. That’s when they whisked him away, detained him and then escorted him to his home in Kasangati, a Kampala suburb. The military police were immediately deployed in the streets of Kampala in the settling pool of tear gas.
Persistence and endurance
It seemed that Besigye’s arrest was a mere short break to him! Immediately after his release, he planned to go back to his campaign schedule. He left his home amid mammoth crowds, headed for Uganda’s number one university, Makerere University, where he had scheduled a rally. The police followed his convoy.
Just as he was about to reach the university, a scuffle ensued between the dwellers of Wandegya town (close to the university) and the police. Whether this scuffle was triggered by the earlier arrest and detention of their candidate remains speculation but a speculation close to the truth. An exchange of stones and tear gas was the predominant form of transaction in the business oriented town of Wandegeya. Whether students were involved is yet to be revealed by the arrests that were made by police.
This day has fueled the earlier fears of violence among Ugandans, especially in the Capital. The events of today have the potential to stir the ambition of violence among those who are for it because they perceive it as an act of humiliating the opposition.