Rukungiri Shops Under Key Lock

4944 Views Rukungiri, Uganda

In short
None of the shops opened along Karegyesa road, the busiest street in Rukungiri municipality. Karegyesa road hosts several hardware, electronics and whole sale shops. Our reporter saw a team of police officers conducting motorized and foot patrols in the empty streets of the municipality.

Traders in Rukungiri municipality stayed away from their shops as party of the defiance campaign to protest the continued confinement of Dr. Kizza Besigye, the former Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party presidential candidate at his home in Kasangati in Wakiso district. 

Last week, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the  FDC party spokesperson, announced a defiance campaign asking party members to dress in black T-shirts every Tuesday and close their businesses every Thursday to protest the continued mistreatment of Besigye. 



This morning, traders in Rukungiri decided to close their shops in response to the campaign. Only a few people could be seen moving around the usually busy town this afternoon. None of the shops opened along Karegyesa road, the busiest street in Rukungiri municipality. 



Karegyesa road hosts several hardware, electronics and whole sale shops. Our reporter saw a team of police officers conducting motorized and foot patrols in the empty streets of the municipality. Virginia Kyaragiere, the Rukungiri District FDC party chairperson, says that people in Besigye's home district decided to close their shops to express dissatisfaction with the confinement of their son. 



"We thought that after the elections Besigye would set free but he was even blocked from petition court to challenge the poll results," Kyaragiere said. The defiance campaign didn't go without any incident. Two businessmen, Sonko Turyatemba, the proprietor of Sonko Electronics and another only identified as Batuma of Batuma electronics were picked up and detained briefly before they were released on police bond. 



Turyatemba says that during interrogation at police he was accused of closing his shop and misusing social media. He says that they were asked to report back to the police station on Thursday next week. Turyatemba says despite the intimidation, they will continue closing their shops each Thursday. 



Michael Ogwal, the Officer in Charge of Criminal Intelligence and Investigations at Rukungiri Police station, says the two had been held under preventive arrest. He says they face charges of misusing social media. However, Peter Asiimwe, a boda boda rider, says he is not ready to engage in the defiance campaign because he has to make money and pay school fees for his children.