Heavy Police Deployment in Butaleja Ahead of Nebanda's Burial

2424 Views Butaleja, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
Government has deployed more police personnel in Butaleja town council ahead of the burial of the late Cerinah Nebanda, the district Woman Member of Parliament.

Government has deployed more police personnel in Butaleja town council ahead of the burial of the late Cerinah Nebanda, the district Woman Member of Parliament.

Four truck loads of armed policemen arrived in Butaleja on Thursday afternoon accompanied by three armored police trucks commonly known as Mamba and two water cannons.

Thursday’s deployment reinforces the earlier police deployment in major trading centers in the district after a group of people believed to be Nebanda’s supporters were intercepted by the police as they attempted to raid three homes of former Butaleja woman MP, and now Uganda’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Dorothy Hyuha.

This came shortly after a group of those believed to be supporters of Hyuha, who lost to Nebanda in the February 2011 elections, reportedly celebrated after receiving news of her death. They reportedly burnt market stalls and tyres on the road in Kamucha trading center in Butaleja on Friday night soon after the legislator was pronounced dead at Mukwaya General Clinic in Kampala.

The police are also deployed at Nebanda’s home in Butunga where her body is expected to be buried.

Micheal Odongo, the Bukedi Regional Police Spokesperson, says the heavy deployment is to ensure peace in the district as they prepare to receive the body of the former legislator at home for burial.

Odongo said police fears that there could be clashes by supporters of the two rival groups as well as acts of lawlessness against the government officials who may come for the burial of late Nebanda.

Earlier, some voters in the district mostly supporters of Nebanda threatened to block her burial should it come at a time when government has not yet finalized and made public the investigation into the cause of her death.

Simon Haumba, an NRM youth mobiliser in the district said they are against government officials to participate in the burial of Nebanda which they suspect was orchestrated by the state.

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The police publicist said it is upon such threats that police are deployed to ensure the burial is successful.

Nebanda’s body is back in Parliament on Friday for a special session in which the legislators and state would pay tribute to her. Parliament is also expected to receive a report from three MPs who were part of the team that Performed autopsy on Nebanda’s body.

The three MPs Medard Bitekyerezo of Mbarara Municipality, Dr Chris Baryomunsi of Kinkiizi East and Dr Sam Lyomoki for Workers, together with a senior consultant pathologist at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Dr Sylvester Onzivua, were on Tuesday during a parliamentary session tasked to work with the government and police to establish the cause of Nebanda’s death and report back to the House today before she could be buried.

However, as the controversy into the cause of Nebanda’s death raged, Dr Onzivua was on Tuesday intercepted by the police at Entebbe Airport before he could take the samples of Nebanda’s body to South Africa for further toxicological tests. He was released on Thursday on police bond after spending two nights in custody.

The three legislatorss have also been asked to appear at the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate (CIID) headquarters in Kibuli to record statements over their alleged interference with the police investigations into the cause of Nebanda’s death. But they have snubbed the summons insisting that there was no need to heed the summons. They spent the night at Parliament to avoid being arrested before giving the statement to parliament.

Nebanda, the 24 year old vocal legislator, died mysteriously seven days ago shortly after being brought to Mukwaya General Clinic, Nsambya, by Adam Suleiman Kalungi, the man believed to be her lover. Kalungi is still on the run.

Asked about the burial arrangements, Robert Wabwire, the deceased MP's elder brother said the family are still waiting for the outcome of today's parliamentary session. The burial was slated for Thursday this week before Parliament halted the process to allow for further investigations.


About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.