Kampala minister Beti Kamya has said although government rues the death of Olivia Basemera, a vendor who last week fell and drowned in the Nakivubo channel as she was being pursued by KCCA law enforcement officers, people must stop selling goods on the streets.
“I wish to add my voice to those people who have expressed their condolences for the death of Olivia Basemera,” Kamya said yesterday while addressing the media in Kampala. “My heart goes out to the family and all the people who loved her.”
In the wake of Basemera’s death that aroused public anger, KCCA withdrew its law enforcement officers from the streets for fear of attacks against them. In that regard, Kamya noted that since the incident, street vendors have stormed Kampala streets in big numbers.
“We shouldn’t lose the gains that we have made over the period; the death of Olivia is very unfortunate but it must not be an excuse for breaking the law. If a robber, for instance, fleeing from law enforcement fell in a channel, will that be a license for all the robbers to come and rob without restraint?” she asked.
Kamya’s comments came a day after KCCA councillors demanded for the interdiction of Kituuma Rusoke and Godwin Katugume, the commander and supervisor of law enforcement officers in KCCA respectively. In a special council meeting held Wednesday at City hall, the city’s political leaders said they cannot sit back and watch when brutality takes root.
In a unanimous resolution, the councillors said the two officers must be interdicted with immediate effect until investigations into Basemera’s death are complete.
“The brutality of the KCCA law enforcement is a matter of national public importance that we must consider,” said Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.
He also wondered how Katugume and Rusoke, both police officers, ended up as bosses of the enforcement arm of KCCA. Faridah Nakabugo, the councillor for Lubaga division, tasked the KCCA’s technical wing to explain where the law enforcement officers are trained from.
She also implored the council to come up with a law to regulate the conduct of the law enforcers. “Unless we come up with an ordinance, we will be coming back here over and over again to talk about the same issue of brutality,” she said.
Doreen Nyanjura, the councillor representing Makerere University, said the actions of KCCA enforcement team have dented the image of the institution.
“Everything about them is evil, they are bad news. We need to put a stop on the operations of these people because, as an institution; we are not benefiting from them,” she said.
Moses Atwine, the KCCA director, physical planning, represented, KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi and said they were also touched by the death of Basemera. He vowed that all those who had a hand in her death will be prosecuted.
“It is not our intention to have people lose their lives as a result of pursuing their businesses. Many times we put in place measures to ensure that our people are safe,” Atwine said.
He revealed that all the five officers who were implicated, were arrested and currently held at Jinja road police station. However, the revelation by Atwine that Godwin Katugume had been released on police bond raised the ire of councilors who accused the police of selective application of the law.
Musisi security threat
Before the council meeting commenced, Lukwago told councilors that Musisi declined to attend the meeting, citing personal security.
In a letter addressed to Lukwago, Musisi said there is a growing threat to her security but she fell short of explaining where this threat is coming from.
Some councilors like Muhammad Ssegirinya of Kawempe wanted the meeting to abort as it was called primarily because of Musisi’s actions.
“We wanted her to be part of this meeting because these matters are in her jurisdiction,” Ssegirinya said.
“I’m wondering, if she is insecure yet she has guns, what about us who don’t have guns?” another councilor said.
But Atwine clarified that Musisi’s security has been under review for a while.
“This concern is not constrained to only this meeting; there are other engagements that she has not attended until they review her security,” Atwine said.