Mukula Supporters Beat Security to Launch Protests

1866 Views Soroti, Uganda

In short
On Tuesday morning police deployed heavily in Soroti town and vowed to block the protests.

Organizers of the pro-Mukula demonstrations in Soroti Municipality managed to beat security on Tuesday and launched their protests seven kilometers away from the town. It comes a few days after Mike Mukula, the former junior Health minister was convicted to four years in jail by Irene Akankwasa, the chief magistrate of the anti corruption court. Mukula, who is also the Soroti Municipality MP, was found guilty of embezzling shillings 210 million from Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization-GAVI Account. However, the jailing of Mukula has not gone down well with his electorate and Iteso community, who cite political persecution.  Last week, the Mukula 118 subcommittee announced plans to launch massive protests on Tuesday to demand the unconditional release of the MP. However, police deployed heavily in Soroti town and vowed to block the protests.

About 200 cops were ferried in from Kampala and deployed in Soroti town on Tuesday morning to beef up security and stop the protests. However, members of the Mukula 118 subcommittee led by Peter Lochom managed to sneak out of the town and launched their protests. They hired motorcycles from Soroti town and assembled in Asuret sub-county, where they launched their protests. The protesters led a procession for about 100 meters and burnt hundreds of NRM membership cards that were handed to them by aggrieved NRM supporters in Soroti Municipality.  They also carried placards, some of which had messages castigating the magistrate and linking President Yoweri Museveni to Mukula’s troubles.  “Museveni is responsible for Mukula’s going to prison” read one of the placards.

“Law society must act on Akankwasa the judge who presided over Mukula’s case” read another. “Why prosecute Mukula only while Janet Museveni, Jimmy Muhwezi the former minister for health, Alice Kaboyo and Alex Kamugisha were left free”.  Peter Lochom, the chairperson of Mukula 118 subcommittee says that they decided to launch their protests in Asuret to evade the heavy police deployment.

//Cue in:  We launched our demonstration …
Cue out: … where they cannot deploy.//

Julius Ochen, a member of the Mukula 118 subcommittee says that the heavy police deployment made it difficult to launch their campaign in Soroti town. He explains that cops were deployed along the road leading to his house, and where they had initially planned to launch the protests.
George Okwaput, a resident of Soroti town spoke to URN about the deployment.

//Cue in:  it’s a pity today …
Cue out: …  over issues that affect them.//
Alison Agaba, the Mid- Eastern regional police commander says that by the time the got wind of what was taking place and dispatched cops, the protesters had already left. He says that they will maintain their presence in the town to ensure, the demonstrators don’t take to the streets.


About the author

Salume Among
Salume Among is the Mbale URN bureau chief. Among has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Among started her career in 2000 as a freelance writer for Etop newspaper before starting to write for its mother paper, The New Vision. She also wrote for the Vision Group's XFM radio station from 2008 until she left to join URN.

Among has a keen interest in local politics having been a youth representative in the Soroti variously between 1996 and 2010. Among also regularly reports on health, education, the environment and sports.