Mukono Municipality MP, Betty Nambooze who is still nursing wounds at hospital, in an engrossing narrative, has revealed that the recent dramatic operation at parliament in which security operatives, clad in suits, rounded up opposition MPs was intended to “hurt” her.
The striking incident kicked off after the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga announced suspension of a minister and 25 legislators who had a day before participated in a fracas, protesting tabling of the age limit motion.
“We knew we were going to be beaten,” Nambooze narrates in a video interview with the Nile Post, a news website – lying on a hospital bed, propping her upper body with one arm.
“Earlier on one of the NRM people whose information you have no reason to doubt had told us that one person they wanted to hurt in that scuffle was me.”
Armed with that information, the opposition legislators decided that Nambooze needed protection during parliament sitting in case security officials came to arrest her, and so three MPs were picked for the role.
During lunch time, Nambooze says, they saw “SFC” officials arriving at parliament premises, and according to her, they were about 200. We counted them, she says.
Instead of sitting in front, opposition legislators told her to sit behind and near MPs Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine (Kyaddondo East), Moses Kasibante (Rubaga North) and Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga, in case “they came for me”.
They also agreed that she should “not to participate in the scuffle,” when it starts.
On why she was being targeted, Nambooze says, “NRM people believed” she was the “major architect” of the demonstration, and that she was accused of “introducing the red bandannas.”
“But I didn’t do it alone,” she says, “we were acting as a group.”
Kadaga announces the suspension
Before coming to parliament, given they knew what was coming, opposition legislators had agreed that Nambooze and Kasibante were not supposed to engage in any fracas, and on announcing their suspension, they obliged and move out.
But as they moved out, Namboole narrates: “As soon as I reached at the door, I was grabbed and thrown down in the lobby. I and Kasibante were held hostage there.”
A few minutes at the lobby, another MP Francis Zaake who was – Just as he confessed – strongly pummeled by Gen. Katumba Wamala, was “brought in a bad situation.”
Nambooze and Kasibante pleaded with security personnel to allow “them assist Zaake.”
The officers agreed.
After doing basic first aid, they (Nambooze and Kasibante) decided to take him to hospital.
But as they moved out, they met Kampala Metropolitan Police commander Frank Mwesigwa, who said: “these people are escaping … get them … get them. Go back.”
At that point, Nambooze, says “when we turned to go back, people came and grabbed me from the back. I don’t know what happened to Kasibante after or Zaake, only that I remember people pulling me and taking me. They threw a cloth on me.”
In another absurd incident, when a journalist, on seeing security officials taking away Nambooze, he came to photograph the moment. He regretted his decision.
“It was only one journalist who saw that I was being kidnapped, but when he came to take the photo, a man came from behind and kicked him in the chest,” Namboole says.
“And they dragged me into the basement.”
From that point, police, she adds, held her ‘Kandoya style” and “started manipulating my body.”
She adds: “One of the people pushed his knee into my back. I became unconscious. I was also pressed hard on the lower abdomen.”
According to Nambooze, the people who tortured her “were dressed like women, but I suspect some must have been men dressed like women.”
And during the torture, she wasn’t “beaten” or “boxed”or “slapped”. She was only “manipulated.”
“They know those positions that can give you a lot of pain,” she confessed.
“I could not even cry because of the way I had been held.”