Six people accused of stoning police officers and a police vehicle in Kampala have been arrested and are being held at the Kampala Central Police Station – CPS.
The accused allegedly spearheaded by John Kabanda and Katongole pelted stones at police officers and police patrol cars that queried a protest by city traders.
The traders staged a protest because landlords are demanding for rent arrears ranging from March to July yet the country was in COVID-19 lockdown.
Luke Owoyesigyire, deputy Kampala police spokesperson, said police ably identified the six among the crowd pelting stones that hurt some of the police officers and damaged a patrol vehicle attached to CPS.
“We have six people in our cells on allegations of inciting violence. These people threw stones at police officers but also damaged our patrol vehicle,” said Owoyesigyire.
Kabanda while at CPS said he rallied traders to protest because of their landlords have decided to lock their shops until they pay rent arrears. Kabanda added that the landlords had also removed some doors of their shops, something that exposes their merchandise to thugs.
“I can’t just look on as my landlord violates my rights. Why cut the door of my shop? If my goods are stolen, will he (landlord) pay me? We have not been working since March and therefore we cannot pay rent for months we didn’t work,” reasoned Kabanda.
Traders who participated in the protests on Wednesday operate at Nabukeera, Nana and Capital Buildings. These buildings have been under lock and key even when some were cleared by government to resume operation after meeting the COVID-19 Standard Operations Procedures –SOPs.
The cited buildings are owned by among other businessmen, Drake Lubega and Mansur Matovu, who have vowed that they would not allow traders to resume operation before clearing rent arrears from March to July.
“We have tried to engage the landlords but they have not listened to us. My capital is 21 million shillings and I pay 2.8 million shillings per month. If you deduct 11 million shillings for rent, I will have remained with almost nothing,” says Mary Kakinga.
Field Force Unit –FFU and general police personnel under the commander of ASP Ivan Nduhura and ASP Benson Oboro queried trader’s protest using teargas and live bullets. Traders vowed to resume their protest tomorrow.
Last week, a police patrol vehicle windscreen was smashed during protest at the Kisekka market.