From Nangayi Guyson in Kampala
The third round of the ‘Walk-to-Work’ protest in Uganda resumed Monday disrupting the start of the first “O” Levels Examinations this year. The Exams at Kololo High School on the outskirts of the Ugandan capital Kampala were disrupted after a tear gas canister landed into the school compound just hours after the start of the first examinations. At least 16 students the college were rushed to Mulago Hospital after being affected by teargas fired by police at ‘Walk-to-Work’ demonstrators at Kissekka Market. Among those affected were students from Senior One to Senior Four who had been in class sitting their first examination paper. Fortunately, none of the candidates were taken to the hospital.
This time, the walk-to-work protest was organized by Activists for Change (A4C) after announcing last week that they would start a one-week protest against high commodity prices, hard economic times and corruption. The group has been calling public transporters to paralyze the public transportation system for the duration of their one week demonstrations. Last month, police Chief Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura accused the group for having links to foreign terrorist groups and vowed not to allow the group to hold rallies any more. But during a press conference at the Inter-Party Cooperation headquarters in Nakasero last month, the group’s coordinator, Mathias Mpuuga, told journalists that they had no links to foreign terrorist groups as alleged and added that the group had never been part of the agenda to overthrow the Government. At a press conference Tuesday, Kayihura said 15 of those arrested yesterday could face treason charges that carry a death penalty.
According to Police Deputy Spokesperson Vicent Ssekate, 44, there were arrests yesterday for taking part in the walk-to-work demonstration but only 29 people were in police custody. Teargas and gunshots rocked parts of Kampala City on Monday morning as police battled to disperse protestors attempting to take part in the Walk to Work demonstrations. Many shops were closed in the Central Business District following the disturbances. It is believed that a confrontation between police and suspected Walk to Work demonstrators around the Kissekka Market could have forced the Police to use tear gas that landed in the school. National exams for O-Levels began Monday in the whole country but there were fears as they coincided with the opposition activist’s call for a resumption of the Walk to Work protests.