lling or injuring of any person; destroying or injuring or inciting to the destruction or injuring of any property, subverting or promoting the subversion of the Government or of its officials and committing or inciting to acts of violence or intimidation (Ssenyonga & Lule, 2012) .

This pronouncement banned A4C and its coordinators from establishing or managing any society for at least two years. Under the same law, any person proved to be a member of A4C, would be jailed for seven years,

Figure 3. Closed public spaces in Kampala central business district.

Figure 4. Examples of regulated public spaces in Kampala city-Kagera road.

while anyone who disseminated or published materials that supported the causes of A4C would be jailed for three years (Bagala, 2012c) . By banning civil rights to protest, the President was hoping to drive the opposition in one direction in which he had comparative advantage and experience: violence. The effect of this directive and statutory instrument, illegal as it was, was to close peaceful avenues for Ugandans to express dissent and cause change in government policies or government itself. It also gave the police the wherewithal to come down hard on opposition demonstrators without worry about the law (Odoobo-Bichachi, 2012b) .

The Public Order Management Act (POMA, 2013) was hurriedly passed to provide for: 1) the regulation of public meetings; 2) the duties and responsibilities of police, organizers and participants in relation to public meetings; [and] 3) measures for safeguarding public order. The law came into force in 2013 in the wake of the walk-to-work demonstrations and laden with the background of the Kayunga and “Save Mabira” riots (Baker, 2015; Mabala, 2015). Public order has been portrayed as people behaving in an orderly, thoughtful and respectful way in public spaces, but of course much depends on whose definition of good behavior, order and respect; and whose definition of illegitimate crowd violence (as opposed to legitimate revolt) (Baker, 2015) . The underlying principle of managing public order is to regulate the exercise of the freedom to assemble and to demonstrate with others peacefully and unarmed (Republic of Uganda, 2013) . The POMA grants the IGP and the Minister for Internal Affairs wide discretionary powers over the management of all public meetings (Republic of Uganda, 2013) . Archival documents show that the police forces is required to have total control over the conduct of public gatherings, including the movements of demonstrators and their right to walk for meetings. The government contends that a stringent law was necessary to contain and control hooliganism that was disrupting public order under the pretext of enjoying constitutional freedoms. In the new law, public gatherings and processions must first give notification to the police, violation of which would constitute an offence of being unruly, riotous or engaging in economic sabotage (Odoobo-Bichachi, 2012c) .

Proponents of the Act and several other Acts that were enacted during and after the riots argued that they were necessary to purge critical voices and protect public order in Uganda against a background of increased demonstrations that many times have resulted in destruction of property and inconvenience to those not taking part in the demonstrations. In a broad sense, the law can therefore be referred to as the anti-Besigye Act or the “ABA”, as it was clearly designed to tighten the grip of the police and security forces in the wake of the W2W and For God and My Country (4GC) protests (Oloka Onyango, 2014) .

6.5. Crackdown and Censorship of the Media

Urban protests in Kampala have become commonplace, due in part to their frequency but due also to the high coverage by the media. The media has served as a vehicle not only for challenging government policies but also for debating government and public morality, and behavior in the streets (Howard, 2003) . 2009 was referred to as the worst year in the history of the media since its liberalization in the early 1990s. The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and Uganda Broadcasting Council have come out to warn the media against any messages that might be seen to promote ethnic prejudice, civil violence, and public insecurity. Following the Buganda riots and W2W protests, Museveni in the state owned New Vision Newspaper has frequently blamed and referred to journalists and several media houses including Al-Jazeera, BBC, NTV, and the Daily Monitor as irresponsible people and they would have to be treated as such for inciting the violence (Clarke, 2011) .

By invoking media and penal laws such as the Press and Journalists Act (1995), Press and Journalists Amendment Act (2006), Access to Information Regulations (2007), Electronic Media Act (1996), Regulation of Interception of Communications Act (2007) and Uganda Penal Code Act, the Ugandan government has arrested and prosecuted journalists, restricted those who can lawfully work as journalists, and revoked broadcasting licenses without due process (Freedom House, 2012) . The Press and Journalist Amendment Act 2006 also requires print media to be annually registered and licensed by government regulatory bodies. It empowered the Media Council to deny licenses based on its assessment of the newspaper’s values and allows the council to revoke them at will as well as criminalizing the publication of information deemed prejudicial to national security, stability, unity or economic interests (Freedom House, 2011). Following the Buganda riots, government officials asked television stations to stop broadcasting live pictures of the violence (MRT, 2009; Vasher, 2011) . In some instances, government forces forcibly removed video footage from television stations, confiscated journalists’ cameras and videotapes, and deleted photographs of dead bodies. Some journalists were also beaten attempting to report on the unfolding events.

The Uganda Police has suspended or banned a number of radio stations or shows (Freedom House, 2012) . The treatment meted out to journalists is well illustrated in Human Rights Watch (2010) and its subsequent bulletins, and in all cases Ugandan journalists have been physically assaulted, pepper sprayed, blocked from accessing news scenes, harassed, intimidated, tortured, arrested and detained by the police, government officials and NRM party members, and in some instances, government-inspired criminal charges and released without any charges preferred against them (Ssempala, 2016) . The Uganda Police accuses the journalists of inciting violence, unethical conduct, refusal to obey lawful orders and being in places where there is no news (Ssempala, 2016) . According to Museveni, the 2009 Buganda riots were caused by and were an extension of the abuses at himself and the NRM from certain FM radio stations and Baganda journalists (Guweddeko, 2013) . Popular outdoor town hall-style radio talk shows/community round table discussions referred to as the People’s Parliament-Ebimeeza were banned in September 2009 immediately after the Kabaka riots because they were dominated by the political opposition and human rights activists despite being few in numbers compared to NRM cadres (Semuwemba, 2009) . While the ebimeeza’s core intention was to create forums to enhance public participation in governance and in holding their leaders accountable, it was broadly argued that under the Minimum Broadcasting Standards’ of the Electronic Media Act, broadcasters or video operators could not ably ensure that the programmes they aired did not promote violence, were not distorted and were in compliance with the existing law (East Africa’s Journalists Association, 2011) . Five privately owned radio stations, 88.8 and 89.2 CBS FM, Ssuubi FM, Radio Two (Akaboozi ku Bbiri) and Radio Sapientia were closed down for a full year by the Broadcasting Council, claiming they were inciting rioters and abusing the president (Conroy-Krutz & Logan, 2012; Freedom House, 2012) . The situation degenerated further following the establishment of the Media Offences Department within the Uganda Police Force, to strengthen the government’s aggressive arm against the media (Freedom House, 2012) .

The most recent attack on journalists occurred to WBS Television cameraman Andrew Lwanga who was filming the arrest of unemployed youth activists when Old Kampala Police DPC; Joram Mwesigye, ordered his arrested and instructed his men to clobber and flog him on the road side. The journalist sustained injuries after being beaten and flogged on the tarmac while his camera was damaged as the police kicked him from all sides (Walukuka, 2015) . Journalists have been threatened with phone calls and text messages, while others have been trailed by security agents especially those that had reported critically about the government, presented opposing political views, or exposed state wrongdoing (European Parliament, 2010; Gyezaho, 2012a, 2012b; Kagumire, 2011; Okeowo, 2011) .

The government does not supervise internet use closely, but it does pay attention to social media (Freedom House, 2012) . As the W2W attracted increasing media coverage, government responded by banning live coverage of the protests and issued a directive to internet providers to block two popular social websites (Izama & Wilkerson, 2011; Warigia & Camp, 2013) . The ban of live coverage came after television stations showed horrific images of the police force’s high-handedness in arresting members of the political opposition (Warigia & Camp, 2013) . Footage of the police firing teargas canisters into homes, schools, and hospitals, was also shown. Security forces prevented journalists reporting from the scene and approaching some political opposition figures who had been arrested. The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) first denied knowledge of Facebook and Twitter being blocked but subsequently on February 18, 2016 only two hours after the Presidential and Parliamentary polls had opened, social media sites such as Whats App, Twitter and Facebook were blocked due to a threat to public order and safety (Aine, 2016; Baker, 2015; Kizza, 2016; Mugabe, 2016) ; to stop attacks by extremist groups and stop the political opposition from announcing their own election results to the public (Aine, 2016) . Quoting the president, Ndushabandi (2016) reports that switching off of Facebook and Twitter was just “endozo” (sample), adding that those persons using satellite phones could as well be taken off air. The shutting down of social media on February 18 was not the first time communication was being blocked on Election Day. A day after the February 23, 2006, general election, government ordered and jammed the website of Monitor newspaper as well as the signals of its sister radio station, 93.3 K-FM in Kampala. The reason given for closing the radio station was relaying election results live from the Namuwongo studio (Mugabe, 2016) .

6.6. Denial of the Prevailing Economic Situation across the Country

To use Thompson ’s ( 1992 ) words; the origins of the riots, the state response to them and the official interpretation of what took place, all provided a clear evidence of the government’s dwindling grasp of reality. While the facts were so clear on the economic situation in the country and how it affected the majority of the population especially the poor, there were those in government who continued to be in simple denial of the facts altogether. Others combined denial and rationalization and fell in the minimization state where they admitted the prevailing economic facts but denied their seriousness. Indeed, some NRM sympathizers were apparently surprised and shocked to receive frank and bitter criticism from fellow party supporters, human rights groups, churches, students, trade unions, and business groups accusing the government and its cronies of monopolizing power and raiding the national treasury. Yet, as Psychologist Sigmund Freud indicated, others were in a state of projection where they admitted both the facts and seriousness but denied responsibility.

In what his critics have called “sheer escapism” using “red herring fallacy” President Museveni has attacked the opposition, the media and environmentalists, branding them as “enemies of progress and the country’s recovery” (Akaki, 2011; Clarke, 2011) and therefore responsible for the prevailing economic crisis. The media were the translators but also the amplifiers of events, weaving a single narrative out of isolated incidents for the general public (Body-Gendrot, 2011) . Over the last 25 years, the government has perfected this tactic and like some of the prolific politicians in his kiln, the trick has frequently been to confuse and cloud an issue by bringing up irrelevant issues, so that the original point gets lost. At the end of it all, everybody gets distracted by arguing over the validity of the new issues he has raised (Mwenda, 2012) . Other opposition critics were arrogantly labeled as petty conmen trying to rip off donors by staging political stunts and street hooliganism so as to account for the funds. For example in one of the blog postings, Mugisha (2011a) while appearing on a radio station in Kampala was reminded arrogantly by a rival NRM insider and Member of Parliament, Margaret Muhanga that they would let the A4C walk on Sunday because the shops were closed so they could not loot!

7. Conclusion and Implications for Urban Policy

Much as the protests have subsided, urban areas have become the new places of revolt and the three cases explored in this paper leave behind a number of policy implications. What came out strongly is that there is a dearth of urban policy ideals and practices in Kampala City that relate closely with protest movements in the city. Even when considered as emerging challenges for city authorities, there has not been any serious effort over the last ten years to mainstream security and protest concerns in urban policy in Kampala city. The examples of protests given in the paper have articulated mass grievance about a range of issues that revolve around the government’s neglect of the people and their basic needs, as well as existing socioeconomic and political inequalities. The Save Mabira Forest campaign was an example of how sustained protests by civil society groups serve as a corrective of democratic deficits in decision-making processes pertaining to the commons and as a deterrent to profit-driven business schemes hatched in collusion with carefree or corrupt bureaucrats and politicians (Honig, 2014) . People were angry at the lack of government provisioning and investment in the basic foundations of society and services they depended on daily-education, housing, health and transport. They were angry at escalating costs of living. They were angry at non-equitable salary raises. They were angry at rising inflation. All these came at a time when the government fronted an “emerging economy narrative” which would deliver the country to middle income status by 2017.

The spirit of the W2W, Buganda riots and Mabira protests is still alive and active in all parts of country. The paper was completed at a time when Uganda was entering the 2016 Presidential elections and similar sentiments of defiance, the potential for collective mobilization and militancy were re-echoed by the main presidential candidates. Shortly after 1986, Uganda embarked on what many people felt was the best chance for reversing the politics of the past and entering a new political era ( Rubongoya, 2007; Besigye, 2011) . There is no denying that there is no dearth of direct and indirect beneficiaries of Museveni’s “eating” system, paid propagandists and unpaid apologists, official and unofficial spokespersons to belabor the point of the current government being the best thing to have happened to this country (Khisa, 2016b) . They speak with the bravado and self-assuredness of men who knows their facts and they are the custodians of all the truth about the government, what is good and bad for Uganda. Like other regime functionaries and acolytes, they don’t tire to tell the world that “they are in charge” (Khisa, 2016c) .

A people’s dream of freedom has become a nightmare of a hijacked state. While relative calm was restored after the protests, the country continues to grapple with several basic challenges. The famously announced 10- point program for recovery that had been designed to end the suffering of the people of Uganda was abandoned before its implementation began (Kashambuzi, 2015) . There is a lot of frustration about the continuing poverty and (youth) unemployment (Suransky et al., 2009) and with more than 80 percent of the youth population continuing cobble an existence through gambling and motorcycle taxi business, it is likely that he (Besigye) would have quite a following to ride along (Serunkuma, 2016) . The protests highlighted that there was resentment within the Ugandan public and the opposition had the potential to mobilize (significant) segments of the Uganda population (Helle & Rakner, 2014) . To ignore, deny or underrate the economic circumstances that prevailed then was not only a distortion of the state of affairs across the country but also underscored the deliberate attempts to ignore reality in favor of a preconceived ideological position. The suppression of the disturbances and riots shouldn’t lead government officials to conclude that all is well, peaceful and secure in the country. It is going to be pretty much difficult for the government to find a remedy against protests in the short term because the emotions that drive them are beyond the desire to simply get a better service but are embedded in the human longing for freedom. Unless, this is resolved, many more riots under prevailing circumstances will certainly emerge. Urban policy and security planning needs to strongly consider claims as genuine and should initiate and foster a discussion of a more inclusive and citizen-oriented form of security for urban areas across the country.

The euphoria of liberation across the country has given way to palpable anger at a government which superintends a state that had been merged with personalities. The Ten Point Program had been consolidated into just one, namely, L’Etat, c’estmoi (I am the state). He owns the money, the oil, and the army-the entire animal that was skinned with the blood of thousands (Muniini, 2016) . It is sad that lives had to be lost just because the Ugandan Government felt it wise to restrict the movement of its citizens within their nation and chose to use extremely excessive force in stopping demonstrators who then turned violent as they saw their civil liberties being denied (Mivule, 2009) . The riots shouldn’t be narrowly interpreted as a class struggle between Buganda Kingdom, A4C, environmentalists and the central government. What is very important is that all actors and leaders focus on the most important aspects for Ugandan society such as delivering better services and reduce existing tensions in our society, which, if approached in a strategic and inclusive manner, can be resolved (Lubwama, 2016; Suransky et al., 2009) . Many failures often result from the tendency of the people who are in charge, to keep their heads-down in denial of this fact (Lubwama, 2016) . As the country enters the next phase of governance with the February, 18th 2016 Presidential elections, one of Uganda’s sworn radical and queer feminist scholar, Nyanzi (2016) , applies satirical perspectives to explain the current state of affairs in the country;

Country is being “raped”. Being raped daily by a dominatrix lover who wooed you thirty years ago normalizes this violence. Simply because the lover liberated you from brutal ex-husbands, washed the pus oozing from your wounded body, bought you nice dresses and gave you a Banco bed to sleep in peace, does not erase the violence and lack of consent with which he rapes you these days. Your lover of thirty years ago became your sick rapist the day he paid our impotent elite a few glittering coins to tear presidential term limits out of the constitution. Where are the remnants of those coins, you traitors? We are stuck with a despot who does not see that the elastic in his pants and underwear got tired many years ago. The children are seeing his wrinkled manhood that violently pounds Mother Uganda, year after year after painful year. You are being raped, Uganda.

The basis of security, peace and authority should not be measured by having a permanent military presence on the city streets. The use of live ammunition to disperse protests at an important Buganda cultural site illustrates the ready nature of the Museveni government to employ violence to repress civil rights. Peace that is maintained by force or through force or coerced through military might on the street is short lived. Employing force to curtail these civil rights undermines any citizen attempts to check runaway political power, since they lack the capabilities of violence necessary to check the military power of state (Vasher, 2011) . As Walusimbi (2016) argues, the impunity calls for the police top brass and subordinates to review their rules of engagement especially in relation to the practice of journalists otherwise history will judge them harshly even though sometimes for the sake of expediency, in the African political experience, legacy is considered irrelevant and inconsequential by some political actors.

Most of the protest movements were spatially grounded and at the core of all protest movements, Kampala City was central to their world view. For the A4C and its W2W, the use of city streets, markets and public spaces, and refusing to leave when approached by police and other security operatives implicitly indicated that urban areas especially Kampala City was a place bound up with the identity of communities rather than a disposable product in a global market place. The A4C refused to treat the city center and other public spaces with indifference, in other words, it decided that the city center and walking to work were critical to its being, its identity, or its conception of its rights to assembly. As Taw and Hoffman (1995) recommend, the government must walk the fine line between overlooking or ignoring the development of protest movements on one hand, and overreacting with repressive legislation and brutal counterattacks on the other. There is a need for KCCA and Uganda Police to rethink the use of, control and regulation of public spaces for the benefits of the general public.

The very publicness that characterized the physical spaces of Kampala City is gradually being lost with the growth of privately owned public space. From privatized shopping malls and plazas to secured streets, opportunities for free expression are waning, especially since the imposition of security zones after the W2W protests in 2011. As part of its law and order imperative the Uganda Police has not partnered well with urban authorities especially KCCA and other law enforcement agencies to mainstream security and other intelligence security systems in urban areas. If the security landscape is to become a permanent of our urban areas, then there is a need for a new urban policy and planning approach that takes care of them.


1The data are compiled from electronic news reports in the Keesing’s Record of World Events and cover different forms of both violent and non-violent politically motivated disorder, including demonstrations, rioting, terrorism and armed conflict.

2The kingdom is the most powerful, best-organized and most populous (Vasher, 2011) of Uganda’s four traditional kingdoms and it claims a proud 600-year history. Its traditional lands include most of Kampala and the surrounding districts. The kingdom rules over the Baganda people. In 1963, the post-colonial constitution formally recognized the power of the traditional kings in a federal system. The kingdoms were later abolished in 1966 and in what many say was a calculated political gamble, the current President Yoweri Museveni decided to restore the monarchy in 1993, but only as a cultural institution under central authority. Of Uganda’s four historical kingdoms which were restored in 1993, Buganda is by far the most popular among its subjects and, from the ruling party’s viewpoint, the most dangerous threat to the National Resistance Movement (NRM)’s political hegemony. The kingdom has a constitutional monarchy, a local parliament, regional assemblies and, crucially, about 17% of the Ugandan population (Economist, 2009) .

3Though the district is in Buganda, some members of the sub-ethnic group in the district, known as the Banyala had announced, unilaterally, secession from Buganda, his presence might spark violence (MRT, 2009; Conroy-Krutz & Logan, 2012; Vasher, 2011) and wanted him to get permission from their leader, Capt Baker Kimeze, before he could make the tour. Many believe that Capt. Baker Kimeze, a former army officer, is a “government puppet” created to oppose the Buganda Kingdom (Asiimwe, 2009) .

4 Mugerwa & Naturinda (2011) .

5 Mugerwa & Naturinda (2011) .

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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