Uganda Age-Ceiling Protest: Opponent Accuses Dictator Museveni of Attempted Assassination

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A police woman with Ms. Ogwal in the hospital. Photo: www.monitor.co.ug

A prominent veteran Ugandan Member of Parliament has accused dictator Yoweri Museveni's regime of trying to murder her during a rally to oppose the his bid to amend the constitution. 

Critics contend the U.S.-backed Gen. Museveni who has run the country for 31 years wants to become life-president. Cecilla Atim Ogwal, an opposition Member of Parliament was knocked out when police fired rounds of live bullets and teargas to disperse a gathering in the town of Lira. She had hoped to speak at the gathering about the current attempt by Museveni's supporters in Parliament to amend the constitution to remove the age-75 ceiling for presidential candidates. Museveni who is officially 73 would not be eligible to run for president in 2021.

Ogwal was later taken to hospital for treatment and eventually regained consciousness. Angry residents reportedly later attacked the home of the police commander.

The U.S. gives the Museveni dictatorship more than $750 million in annual aid including for the military. As violence by the security forces escalates the U.S. ambassador has not uttered a word.

Separately, the regime has arrested Dr. Kizza Besigye, whom many believe was the real winner of last year's presidential election, after police killed an anti-life-presidency protestor in Rukungiri, named Edison Nasasira. The 22-year old was reportedly shot in the head. Thousands, wearing red bandannas --the new symbol of protest-- or clothing, gathered for his funeral last Friday.

Dr. Besigye was arrested on October 19 together with other top party officials, Ingrid Turinawe and Patrick Amuriat, as well as Innocent Tashobya, a District Councilor for Rukungiri. They were charged with inciting violence, "disobeying statutory duty" and malicious damage to property.

After a court granted him bail, Dr. Besigye's car was surrounded and blocked by security agents, preventing him from leaving the court yard today. 

The attack on Ms. Ogwal in Lira happened Tuesday, October 24. The Member of Parliament has accused the Lira District Police Commander of attempted murder to appease Gen. Museveni.

"It is very shameful and disgraceful but I hope somebody would have to apologise to the people of Lango because we Members of Parliament are still under obligation to consult them and get their views on the proposal to remove the age limit and the planned compulsory acquisition of land by government,"” Ogwal told Uganda's The Daily Monitor. David Ongom Mudong a police spokesperson reportedly denied Ogwal's allegations.

Another Member of Parliament, Silvia Akello, was also treated for injuries. Both she and Ogwal were treated at  Lira Medical Center. The rally had been organized by Lira Member of Parliament Joy Atim Ongom.

On September 27, when opposition members of Parliament attempted to delay start of the process that could lead to the removal of age-ceiling, Museveni's security agents, dressed in business suits, raided the floors of Parliament and physical confrontations ensued. Several Members of Parliament were dragged from the floor and arrested. 

 

 

 

 

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