Business grounded to a halt in Kabale municipality on Monday afternoon following a standoff between police and opposition politicians led by Dr. Kiiza Besigye, the former FDC president. It all started after Mubarak Munyagwa, the Kawempe Division mayor, Ingrid Turinawe, the FDC women league chairperson and Kampala Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago appeared before the Kabale Chief magistrate on charges of inciting violence, damaging Police vehicles and injuring four cops, and were released on bond.
Shortly after leaving the fully packed court room, the suspects led by Besigye drove passed the regional Police head quarters at Makanga hill to post office before connecting to Kabale Garage Street, where they were intercepted by Anti riot Cops led by Bosco Arop, the Kabale District Police Commander. Police used pepper spray to stop the procession leading to a bitter exchange of words between Kiiza Besigye and the cops who had blocked his way through Kabale Garage Street.
Shortly after the stalemate, Besigye and his supporters turned to maintain street where they were again blocked from taking Katuna road sparking off bitter reactions from the group. Heavily armed police officers sealed off Katuna road and forced Besigye to take the Kabale–Mbarara road. The situation worsened after the opposition activists decided to stop and have lunch at Hotel Home again along the Kabale -Mbarara High way but police tried to stop them from gaining access to the hotel. Police was forced to use water cannons to disperse the group.
Dr. Kizza Besigye told the media that the actions of the police clearly indicate that the regime fears its own people, which cannot be tolerated.
The chaos lasted for more than one hour until police allowed the opposition supporters to escort Besigye, Lukwago and Ingrid out of Kabale town. However, another standoff occurred at Nyakijumba Bridge after police sealed off the road and blocked the opposition supporters from proceeding to Kyanamira Sub County. Police used pepper spray to disperse the opposition supporters. Erias Lukwago, the Kampala Lord Mayor accused police of being chaotic saying they had been summoned to court adding that there was no way, they would expect them to arrive in Kabale as fugitives.
He said they had received a warm reception from opposition supporters in Kabale saying it was only natural for them to reciprocate the gesture.
Ely Maate, the Kigezi regional police spokesperson denies any wrong doing on the part of the force. He says they intervened because the opposition activists had planned to disrupt business. Maate says that they decided to deploy heavily to avert any possible loss of lives.