Maxwell Ogwal, the Southern Region Police Commander on Tuesday forced Joseph Ssewungu, the Kalungu West MP out the district after hours of protests by residents against water scarcity.
Ssewungu was forced from the district after he was arrested on Tuesday morning while leading a procession of residents protesting water scarcity. Kalungu district has not had water supply for the last 8 months following the breakdown of the water supply system. On Tuesday morning, Ssewungu mobilized residents to sign a petition, which he would present to parliament for intervention.
During the meeting residents resolved to lead a procession to Kalungu town council to confront Godfrey Kasagga, the Kalungu Town clerk and LC III chairperson Joseph Kiraga, who they accused of mismanaging 3 million shillings collected from residents for repairing the water station. However, the procession was intercepted by Martin Okoyo, the Kalungu DPC who ordered the arrest of Ssewungu. The arrest of the MP drew angry reactions from his voters leading to violent clashes with the police. They burnt old car tyres next to Kalungu town council offices and Kalungu Healthy Center IV and blocked traffic forcing police to fire teargas and live bullets to disperse them.
As a result of the tension, Maxwell Ogwal, the Southern Region Police Commander who rushed to Kalungu town council released Ssewungu from detention forced him into his vehicle and ordered him out of the district saying his presence was a security threat. However, Ssewungu didn’t give in without a fight as he exchanged bitter words with Ogwal and called for the transfer of Martin Okoyo, the Kalungu District Police Commander for alleged indiscipline. Ssewungu accused the DPC of manhandling yet it is his constitutional mandate as the area MP to demand services for his voters.
Ssewungu told scribes shortly after he was ordered out of the district that he has given Kalungu Town council a week to reconnect water supply failure of which will lead to massive protests.
Some of the areas most affected by water scarcity include Kalungu Health Centre IV, Kalungu central police station, and Kalungu town council. Anent Nalubega, a resident of Kalungu town council claims that she has spent about two weeks without washing her clothes because of lack of water. She claims that they have resorted to dirty water from a swamp, which they share with animals yet they paid some money towards the repair of the water system. Nalubega accuses police of firing teargas inside her house affecting her three- months- baby.
She claims that her child stopped breathing at some point until she rushed her to a nearby clinic, where she was given first aid. Sarah Nakidde, another resident says the water scarcity has forced vendors to hike the price of a 20 liter jerry can to 1000shillings yet many of them are low income earners, who can’t afford it. Nakidde wonders why police had to brutalize them yet they also depend on the water they are pushing for. Some residents have vowed to block the spouses of cops from accessing water from the community swamp to protest against police brutality.
Godfrey Kasagga, the Kalungu town clerk simply drove off amid protests and refused to comment on the matter. But Joseph Kiraga, the Kalungu Town Council LC3 chairman insists council does not have money to repair the water system.