Uganda: Carry your coffin as you demonstrate, RCC tells protesters

Mamos Media

Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Retired Maj David Matovu. PHOTO/COURTESY.

By Philip Wafula

The newly-appointed Jinja Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Retired Maj David Matovu, has asked whoever is planning protests to do so while carrying a coffin on their head.

Maj Matovu, while officially assuming office last week, was allaying fears that protests would rock the country following the January 14 General Election.

He was also adding his voice to  that of the Minister of Information and National Guidance, Ms Judith Nabakooba, who had earlier said there were elements planning to shutdown the country through riots.

“I don’t want to see such riots or hear of them in Jinja; it will be really treason and whoever will be involved should carry a coffin on their head, rest it by the roadside then go and protest on the highway and people’s buildings are destroyed,” Maj Matovu told a meeting at City Hall.

In attendance were politicians, technical staff, business community, cultural and religious leaders, among others.
He added: “And this also applies to all of you with businesses and wealth in Jinja; you should not tolerate such nonsense.”
President Museveni last month reshuffled Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and their deputies, two days to the General Election, dropping Jinja RDC, Mr Eric Sakwa, whom he replaced with Ms Deborah Mwesigwa.

He also appointed Maj Matovu as the first Jinja RCC following its attainment of City status on July, 1, 2020.
Following the General Election, National Unity Platform (NUP) President, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine), was placed under house arrest, while several of his supporters are reportedly missing or face various  charges at the General Court Martial.

Security agencies accused Bobi Wine of mobilising to carry out nationwide riots, allegations he has denied, saying he has no knowledge of such planned civil unrest.
“We have always asked our supporters and Ugandans at large to follow the law. We believe in non-violence and it is what we have been advocating,” he said last week, adding that if Ugandans are not happy with what is happening, the Constitution provides for peaceful demonstrations.

Maj Matovu, however, promised to work with everybody, including the Opposition, but only if they are ‘honest and realistic’.
Mr Moses Bizitu, the NUP coordinator for Busoga Sub-region, has scoffed at Maj Matovu’s talk  and also asked him to carry his own coffin on his head. 

“He’s not the first person to talk about people carrying coffins. Even himself must be prepared to carry a coffin on his head. If he doesn’t know his duties, he should be taken for a refresher course other than telling protesters to carry coffins on their head,” he said.

Bishop Charles Isabirye Bameka, the national presiding Bishop of the Lutheran Church, who led an opening devotion, challenged the public to respect those in power.

The law 

According to the Constitution of Uganda,  the guaranteed include the right to life (Article 22), to liberty (Article 23), and to freedom from torture and inhuman treatment and to dignity (Article 24). 

Under the law, no person shall be deprived of life intentionally except in execution of a sentence passed in a fair trial by a court of competent jurisdiction in respect of a criminal offence under the laws of Uganda and the conviction and sentence have been confirmed by the highest appellate court.

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