UGANDA: 33 Women Arrested at the Electoral Commission

Monday, January 18, 2010
New Vision
Eastern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

The police yesterday arrested 33 women of the Inter Party Cooperation (IPC) as it foiled a planned demonstration at the Electoral Commission headquarters on Jinja Road in Kampala.

Some of the women were arrested from inside the tightly-guarded offices. Others donning black T-Shirts bearing the words “IPC Women” and “Women for Peace” were picked up from the adjacent Centenary Park in the operation that started at 11:00am, triggering off a heavy traffic jam.

The women stormed the commission headquarters to demand the resignation of the election commissioners led by Eng. Badru Kiggundu.

The women, the Police said, gained access into the EC premises by entering one at a time before regrouping inside. Many of them claimed that they had gone to meet the commissioners but later crossed the road to the Centenary Park, where they changed into the black T-shirts.

They were quickly rounded up by women Police officers led by the Jinja Road Police Station operations boss, Alphonse Mutabazi.

Grace Turyagumanawe, the Police deputy director in charge of operations, told journalists that the women “were trying to cause disturbance.”

“We have arrested about 30 of them,” he said.

The Police identified the women held at Jinja Road Police Station as Jackie Nabuto, Faus Nampima, Dorothy Lunkuse, Aisha Nakiranda, Sarah Sengendo and the other only as Nambeja.

The Police did not identify those held at the central Police station, given the fact that they were still extracting statements from them.

Turyagumanawe said the suspects, many of them elderly women, would be handed over to the CID for interrogation.

Other Police sources said the suspects would be charged with unlawful assembly.

Security at the EC remained tight and the Police blocked pedestrians from using the walkway close to the offices.

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party criticised the manner in which the Police rounded up the women. FDC is one of the parties under the IPC.

We strongly condemn the manner in which the women were arrested and hurled onto Police trucks like cabbages and bananas,” Wafula said.

Addressing the press at the Najjanankumbi FDC head offices, the party spokesperson, Wafula Oguttu, said the women had gone to deliver a letter to the EC chairman.

In the letter, Oguttu said, the women demanded that Kiggundu resigns for being incompetent.