The Uganda Police Force has said Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and three Members of Parliament arrested were arrested for their own safety.
According to the Kampala Metropolitan area deputy police spokesperson Paul Kangave, the police deployed at Park Yard market in Nakivubo after getting a tip-off about a planned protest by the vendors over an eviction order. Kangave says they were surprised to see Lukwago and some legislators coming in to address the vendors.
Kampala Minister Beti Kamya reportedly issued an order on Tuesday giving vendors at Park Yard market 30 days to vacate the place.
Police say they engaged rowdy crowds throwing stones and sticks indiscriminately. MPs Mubarak Munyagwa of Kawempe South, Moses Kasibante for Rubaga North, and Allan Ssewanyana for Makindye West were arrested together with Lukwago and taken to Central Police Station.
Kangave notes that the arrest of the politicians was merely for their protection in a riotous scenario. He says that after the mob had been calmed down, the arrival of Lukwago and the three MPs created chaos forcing police to intervene.
Lukwago and the MPs were released at midday with no charges preferred against them. Police however warned them to stay away from Park Yard since the situation was still tense.
The Traders are protesting a move by the Board of Trustees of Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium to evict them. The traders say that many of them have spent more than 30 years in the market and cannot be evicted but should be left to develop it.
The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) council recently stayed the eviction of the vendors pending assessment of the matter.
Lukwago stated that they went to meet the affected people in order to have detailed information but police picked them up without explaining.
He says he has called for a special council meeting on Monday next week to address the matter of the unfair treatment of the vendors but also the manner in which the minister for Kampala is treating council and its resolutions.
– Uganda Radio Network