A cloud of smoke and the sound of gunfire filled the air at Kitooro Trading Centre in Entebbe Municipality, Monday morning, as police battled angry protestors. Carrying placards, the furious residents had gathered at Green Leaf Leisure Park Gardens to protest against the move by the Ministry of Defence to takeover Entebbe Grade A Hospital.
Their demonstration coincided with a meeting that had been convened by Wakiso district LC5 boss, Matia Lwanga Bwanika, in the trading centre. Preliminary reports indicated that Bwanika and the local authorities had organized to walk on the streets of Entebbe town to show their discontent over the matter.
Last week, Wakiso district leaders under their umbrella body, Wakiso District Political Forum said they would not allow the takeover of the hospital and noted that the handover (scheduled for November 1) needed to be suspended until an alternative medical facility was put in place. Hardly had the protesters began their peaceful demonstration than heavily armed police officers sealed off the trading centre.
A verbal confrontation ensued between Bwanika and Kampala South Regional Police Commander Michael Mugabi. Minutes later, Bwanika was whisked away in a police van to Entebbe Police Station amidst tight security. This sparked off fury among his supporters who hurled stones at the cops. Kayihura’s boys reacted by throwing teargas canisters as others fired live bullets in the air to disperse the rowdy crowd.
While speaking to the press, Mugabi said that the district leaders had failed to adhere to police directive. “Police had advised the organisers of the demonstration to postpone it because it would clash with the activities of National Water and Sewerage Corporation,” he said.
(Reporting By Peacock Kaweesa)