Police was forced to block a dialogue on Friday afternoon at Makerere University main hall, where presidential hopeful Amama Mbabazi and Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago were among the Key speakers.
The dialogue had been organized by the Muslim Youth Development Platform in conjunction with Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) under the theme; “The Role of Muslim Youth in shaping Uganda’s Political Future.”
Police led by Wandegeya DPC Brian Ampaire observed that the organizers had not informed police in time therefore, their meeting could not take place.
“We had written to police in time and we had explained to them the visitors that we were to host and these included Hon. Amama Mbabazi, Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago, among others. But to our shock Police blocked us, this is injustice,” said Ahmed Kabuye, the Executive Director Muslim Youth Development Platform.
Ahmed clarified that they had already secured the permission of Makerere University administration to use the main hall as the venue and at the same time they claimed that police had cleared them a day before.
Later Makerere University officials issued signed letter indicating that they could no longer have the dialogue move on citing that the guests that appeared on the day’s agenda were different from those that they were told of earlier.
“It has come to my notice that the list of speakers you presented with your request for the above seminar is different from the list of speakers on the posters distributed for the same .This is a breach of trust. This is therefore to inform you that the permission to hold the above seminar at the main building today 14th August 2015 has been withdrawn,” reads the letter that was written by the Vice chancellor in charge of finance and administration.
The officials were of the view that speakers like Amama Mbabazi and Elias Lukwago were not supposed to appear on the list of guests.
Later there was a bitter exchange of words between Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago and police when he showed up for the dialogue.
Police blocked him from the main gate and there was a scuffle for about two hours.
“Mr. Lukwago, the dialogue was cancelled .You are requested with due respect to go back or else we shall tow your vehicle with a break down and have you arrested,” Brian Ampaire DPC Wandegeya told Lukwago.
However Lukwago’s plea fell on a deaf, ear and he later requested to access the university mosque which is next to the main gate but still police could not allow him.
Realizing the situation was getting out of hands, Lukwago later left in another car amidst teargas.
Police led by Wandegeya DP, Brian Ampaire said the move was due to failure by the organizers to inform police of the meeting in time which is mandatory under the Public Order and Management Act.
“We have the public order management bill, which all citizens must follow. The organizers did not notify us, yet they were to host a number of politicians who required security. I advise them to always follow the right procedures. It is not true that we have banned dialogues at the university, we cannot, but let the organizers follow the law,” said CP Thomas Kassimo, Makerere University Chief Security Officer.
Three people were later arrested and taken to unknown destination, where one was identified as Umaru Karingenyago, who was part of the organizers.
However Amama Mbabazi, together with other key speakers who included Kampala Central MP, Mohammed Nsereko, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda among others did not show up.
It should be noted that there have been growing concerns among the security circles, that Makerere University is being turned into a political ground.
This followed in April when Amama Mbabazi and Gen. Tinyefuza were hosted at Makerere University when police was not aware.
Previously, such dialogues have never required police authorization to take place.