Security in Hoima City on Wednesday thwarted the social activities that had been organised by the opposition Hoima City Woman Member of Parliament, Ms Asinansi Nyakato, as women and men in the city in particular joined the rest of the world to mark the International Women’s Day.
The Hoima Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Mr Badru Mugabi, said the security’s frustration of the events followed Ms Nyakato’s purported failure to seek permission from the government security agents to hold such celebrations.
The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) MP had organised a football match dubbed “Maama Oil City Tournament 2023” at Buswekera primary school playground in West Division as well as a tree planting exercise when the police’s Field Force Unit (FFU) officers arrived at the venue and stopped the activities.
During their operation, the police officers dispersed people who had gathered for the event, confiscated the tree plantlets, public address system, balls, jerseys, a cow and other prizes that had been prepared to be given to winners and participants.
Ms Nyakato accused Mr Mugabi of deliberately sabotaging the events by allegedly creating a poor environment for them.
“We woke up in the morning in a great vibe to mark Women’s Day in style with women ready to play men’s football against boda boda riders and leaders of Hoima city. But it was hurtful to see that the public address system, chairs, tents, jerseys and the cow that were transported to the venue to be confiscated. We wrote informing the security of the event.” Ms Nyakato said.
“As a woman MP, I have the right to reach out to my people. As Hoima city, we decided that we start planting trees to make the city green, have shades and good air as it is a worldwide call to recover our environment. Even the government [of Uganda] urged people to plant trees. Unfortunately, on the orders of the RCCs and DPCs, the town clerks confiscated all the tree plantlets. When we went to Buswekera, Parajwoki and Buhanika primary schools, we were told that they were ordered not to allow them to plant the trees there,” she continued.
Although the legislator claimed that she informed the Head of the Hoima City Security Committee cum RCC, Mr Badru Mugabi, of the event, the latter said in a lengthy WhatsApp message that she ignored his invitation for a meeting over the matter.
“A (sic) heard of the activities and made a phone call to the Honorable MP to help her get the required clearance to hold such events. I personally called Hon Nyakato and assured her of support but she chose not to turn up this morning for a meeting,” Mr Mugabi defended himself.
The RCC also faulted Ms Nyakato for allegedly failing to inform the city education officers for her plan to plant trees at Buswekera primary school since they are the superintendents of the institution.
“She [Ms Nyakato] did not notify the education department of her plans to plant trees in the four schools. Remember planting them is one thing and growing them is another. Secondly, schools have plans and you cannot plant without consulting the beneficiary. Both the Town Clerk and Head of Education were not involved. So, they requested her to first get cleared by the city,” the RCC continued.
On the frustrated launch of the football tournament, Mr Mugabi said Ms Nyakato “neither got nor presented a clearance from the IGP, Hoima city or DFA” (District Football Association) “to hold such.”
Adding: “She did not even seek security support given the fact that she invited other national leaders. Given the calibre of invites, security sensed a political rally was in the making and required security clearance but she refused to come for the meeting despite the telephone call I gave her and she assured me that she would attend.”
Mr Mugabi claimed that the City Security Committee advised that Nyakato had to first get clearance and all would proceed.
“Let her own up failure to engage other stakeholders in organising today’s events,” the RCC concluded.
The Soroti City woman Member of Parliament, Ms Joan Acom Alobo, who was also invited to the event, castigated the security agents in Hoima city for frustrating the celebrations saying sitting area legislators do not seek any permission to meet their constituents.
She scorned the security agents that they do not belong anywhere on the list of leaders in Uganda.
The Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) opposition party Coordinator for Bunyoro Region, Mr Ismail Kasule, said the foiled events are an indicator that women are still being marginalised in a move purportedly orchestrated by a male RCC especially at that time when women were celebrating the International Women’s Day.