Hi everybody. This is your favorite munnamawulire (journalist), checking in with you from Uganda. Yesterday and today have been pure chaos in Kampala. Yesterday and today, riots killed as many as ten people, including a teenage boy, and the city was a mess of tear gas and bullets as the Ugandan military and police tried to quell the rioters.
Yesterday’s riots began after an advance team for the Kabaka, the king of the Buganda kingdom, was blocked from entering Kayunga district. The Ugandan government feared the visit would incite violence because the Banyala say they have seceded from the Buganda kingdom, and see the Kabaka’s visit as an affront. President Museveni said the Kabaka cannot visit Kayunga unless Mengo officials, Banyala leaders opposing the visit, and the Internal Affairs minister meet.
The riots eventually spread to seven Kampala suburbs, with mobs angry that the Kabaka was blocked from visiting Kayunga, which is an area in central Uganda. Five radio stations, including CBS, have been taken off the air/suspended for allegedly inciting violence. You know my thoughts about CBS after they began inciting violence against the NV company & its reporters after our controversial Bulange story…
I write features stories for Saturday Vision so I wasn’t affected, just working on some health and business stories, but the news desk and photo team were on the front lines, making our paper proud with their bravery and teamwork. One of my friends taking photographs showed me two bullets he picked up lying on the ground. I’ve been safe and sound, though, as a features reporter, and will probably spend the weekend most indoors, since public transport in the main part of town is blocked off, as are many of the streets.
I’ve been relying on facebook to get news updates from my friends scattered all over Kampala, posting the latest thing they’ve seen or heard on their facebook status pages.
According to New Vision, 64 people are currently being held by the police for taking part in the riots. Also, some rioters have begun attacking Indian merchants, using it as an opportunity to loot their stores.