A number of Makerere University students and former student leaders affiliated with the National Unity Platform-NUP political party are in hiding for fear of being arrested following the recent death of a student.
Police are investigating the chaotic scenes that marred the guild campaigns at Makerere University on July 14, resulting in the death of a Uganda Christian University-UCU law student Bewatte Betungura, after a confrontation between FDC and NUP supporters.
Betungura was at Makerere to support his old friend Justus Tukamushaba, a Forum for Democratic Change -FDC candidate in the race. But it’s alleged that he was stabbed in the neck and he died moments later due to excessive bleeding.
In the aftermath, police arrested a number of supporters in the NUP camp. Among those arrested include Kassanda South Member of Parliament Frank Kabuye, Kabuulwa Muzafaru, Kenneth Katushabe and Ssekidde Allan.
The arrest sent shockwaves among the NUP camp resulting in many of their current and former leaders such as Julius Kateregga, David Musiri, Shamim Nambassa, Lawrence Alionzi, Bbosa Price, Ssempijja Ivan, and Ssewayana Nelson, among others, going underground for fear of arrest.
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network from an undisclosed location, Julius Kateregga, a Kampala Capital City Authority councillor for Kawempe division, and former Makerere University Guild President said he and many of his colleagues are in hiding for fear of arrest. He said until the police come out and name the people they are looking for, it will be hard for them to get out of their safe havens.
Kateregga asked the police to be transparent in its investigations and review all the footage that was taken on that day from both the Makerere University CCTV cameras and phone videos in order to identify the real culprits. He also faults the police for failing to provide security to the students yet they knew there was a likelihood of violence if the warring camps met.
He says that there are videos which were taken by some FDC supporters which should be properly analysed to identify the people who were captured holding bottles and knives instead of carrying out political persecution. “It will be unfortunate if the family of the late doesn’t get justice if this process is politicised,” Kateregga said adding that he is convinced that security is failing to follow the exact leads to the real culprits.
Meanwhile, police have released on bond the four suspects who were earlier arrested. Speaking to Uganda Radio Network, Luke Oweyesigyire, the Kampala Metropolitan Deputy Police Spokesperson said the four were released last night but investigations into the matter continue. However, their case had been downgraded from murder to inciting violence.
Frank Kabuye, one of the arrested persons told URN that their release was due to the demand by the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among and his colleagues in parliament. He added that he was pleased that his charge had been downgraded to inciting violence although he also maintains that he was wrongly accused.
Commenting on those in hiding, Kabuye said if they have anything that can help in the investigation, they should come out and talk to the police.
“We request police to put out the list of those people they are looking for instead of working through fellow students who seem to be the ones running the case. Let police carry out this investigation in a transparent way so that the real culprits are brought to book. But what is happening is witch-hunting people for their political views,” Kabuye said.