THE OPPOSITION icon Col. Kizza Besigye has planned a robust “March of Millions” on the streets of Kampala when Uganda marks 50 years of self rule on October 9, according to sources close to him.
The march is aimed at countering the Uganda@ 50 celebrations that will be conducted at Kololo Airstrip. Sources say that though security has sealed off most opposition activists’ homes including Besigye’s, this will not deter them from fulfilling their long planned grand strategy of overshadowing the national celebrations with protests on Kampala streets, denouncing the NRM government.
“This move was planned earlier by most of us; we want to storm the streets with Doctor [Besigye] on the front line. We have already mobilised youth, opposition supporters and those who think they are tired of this regime. They are all ready to march to the streets,” an inside in the Walk-to-Freedom Campaign intimated to us.
The A4C/4GC co-ordinator, Mathias Mpuuga, when contacted on phone said not even security deployments at their homes or even allegations that they are planning a rebel outfit can subdue their core plan of the protests. “I am telling you; what we are planning is a break through. This time we are more than determined. We expect police to disrupt our activities but there is always an option. Yes I heard [Andrew] Kaweesi [Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander] calling us rebels and all sorts of names but that will not stop us from achieving what we want,” Mpuuga said. But he declined divulging the details of the activities he is ‘cooking’. “Why do you want to pre-empt? We shall announce,” he said.
Another independent source close to Besigye said their strategy is to get protesters storm the city from different directions and throng the city centre which will give security hard time to disperse them since that day security operatives will be torn between guarding dignitaries at Kololo and keeping watch at any emergencies. That a big section which Besigye will lead will then emerge from Kisekka Market to Kampala Road then join the other groups at Constitutional Square where they will preach the gospel of change. “The plan is that every leader will lead a group of protesters across all streets of Kampala.
As police is busy battling those at Clock Tower, those from Jinja Road will be proceeding. Others will storm from Nasser Road and Kampala Road and finally we shall all join hands at City Square where we shall camp,” a source said. The protesters are expected to march across downtown Kampala with loud anti-NRM songs playing including the latest by Mathias Walukaga ‘ABANTU BAKOWU’.
That the protestors will be banging pots and pans, chanting anti-government slogans, waving placards notifying the delegates that Uganda is led by a dictator and that they are not here by the will of Ugandans. A source quoted Besigye saying not even heavy downpour of rain will dampen his enthusiasm that day. Among those who will address the crowd are Ingrid Turinawe, Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and newly elected Butambala MP, Muwanga Kivumbi. Also Kampala Central MP, Muhammad Nsereko who has turned guns against his own NRM party, is expected to attend and a few individuals from other Opposition parties.
Meanwhile, as Uganda plans for its 50th independence celebrations, preparations for bloodshed between the ruling NRM and opposition are also in full gear. According to a group of NRM MPs calling themselves patriots/nationalists led by Kaberamaido MP Kenneth Omona, the NRM is mobilising people to counter the Opposition rioters during independence.
The group include MP Moses Balyeku, Samuel Semugaba, Alex Byarugaba among others. Addressing journalists at parliament this week, the group promised chaos against the Opposition if they dare walk to disrupt the celebrations. “We have won elections, results declared. Voters decided that they want NRM. Violence can’t change government. During swearing in, they disrupted us and stoned Presidents, this time, we have also mobilised. It is going to be citizens Vs citizens. Let’s see who has more numbers. Why do they embarrass us?” Balyeku fumed. He went on ‘this time, it is fire answering fire. The moment Besigye starts, we also come in. They will organize their riots and we also organise counter riots. People have all freedoms but there is no freedom for riots’. The group stated that they are mobilising already the people to take part in that ‘battle’.
On Monday, Besigye, Lord Mayor Lukwago and a line of MPs were netted by police after they tried to walk in the city.
Lukwago, Mpuuga, Besigye Blacklisted
A security brief ahead of next week’s jubilee independence day celebrations has leaked to us indicating that six leading Opposition figures have been put under 24 hour surveillance. These include Besigye, Lukwago, Mpuuga, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and activist Ingrid Turinawe.
The dossier is contained in a classified brief presented to Cabinet last Wednesday chaired by Premier Amama Mbabazi. The brief labelled ‘Classified’ was presented by Security minister Muruli Wilson Mukasa. In this tightly guarded brief that wasn’t debated by Cabinet and also not circulated to ministers for fear of leakage to the public, the minister said all ground preparations for turning Kampala into a battle field had been completed. The ring leaders according to Mukasa’s brief include the afore mentioned Opposition figures, a reason why they are now being trailed even in their toilets.
According to sources who quoted Muruli, the Opposition plan of action is to be executed during and after the celebrations. That the protestors will also attack key institutions like banks, ministries and high ranking officials in Government. “The plan is to make the city ungovernable. It is also aimed at scaring away the visitors and tourists. This is the reason they have been demanding for the Independence Day celebration programme in Parliament,” sources quoted Muruli as telling Cabinet.
Muruli told Cabinet that the group had also infiltrated the media and coordinated it through one of the prominent city scribes. Although he refused to name the scribe to the ministers for fear of leakage, Muruli is understood to have informed Cabinet that the journalist’s work is to ensure that all confrontations/ brutality meted against them by security forces be well captured and documented. The clips by the media will be used by the Opposition to table them before world powers.
The plan is to have Museveni’s regime tainted to the marrow ahead of the celebrations. In the process, the protesters hope that none of the invited leaders will attend the do. In fact, after he presented his brief, the ministers were not allowed to make comments; neither were they allowed to ask questions. Instead, Muruli told them that already security had taken note of the Opposition plans. He refused to disclose the plan of action by security for fear of leaking it to the Opposition by some ministers.
Last year, the Opposition staged fierce battles along Entebbe Road where several heads of state who attended Museveni’s swearing-in were stoned. One of the victims of that day was Nigerian President, Jonathan Goodluck who is among the 24 Presidents who have snubbed the invitation and instead delegated their representatives.