KAMPALA- Two Kampala Capital City Authority’s (KCCA) law enforcement officers were on Friday admitted to Norvik Hospital in Kampala after being stabbed during a clash with hawkers.
Mr Daniel Muhumuza Nuwabine, the acting KCCA spokesperson, said John Lubega and Lameck Mutebi were attacked by a one Juma Ankwansa and Charles Nsereko, both hawkers at the New Taxi Park downtown Kampala.
The cruel incident reportedly occurredon Friday at about 10am after the KCCA officers and police attempted to quell a dispute between taxi operators on the Kampala-Masaka and Kampala-Sembabule routes at the New Taxi Park.
“As the two parties were being engaged, Akankwansa surfaced at the scene and drew a knife. One of our officers was stabbed in the chest the other in the shoulder,” Mr Nuwabine told Sunday Monitor.
“Mr Lubega is steadily improving while Mr Mutebi remains in Intensive Care Unit,” he revealed.
The Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, Mr Patrick Onyango, said police intervened as the KCCA officers were attempting to disarm Mr Akanwasa.
“According to preliminary information, Isaac Egesa Obuli, a law enforcement officer/Administrator at New Taxi Park, held a meeting to resolve the dispute between Masaka and Ssembabule taxi operators,” Mr Onyango said.
“Mr Egesa and his subordinates in the company of the two wrangling groups went for a fact-finding mission on the whether their differences were resolved amicably. As they were returning from the field, they heard one of law enforcement officers behind crying for help. They found he had been stabbed and was on the ground with Akankwasa holding a blood-stained knife,” he added.
The duo has since been arrested and are being held at the Central Police Station in Kampala.
Mr Henry Musoke, also hawker dealing in face masks at the New Taxi Park, revealed that Mr Akankwasa is the chairperson of the Twegatte Hawkers’ Group and that he has always urged them not to bribe KCCA law enforcement officers.
Mr Musoke indicated that the law enforcement team wanted to arrest Mr Akankwasa, a move he resisted.
“One of the enforcement officers dressed in plain clothes approached him and pretended to be buying a mask. He then signalled to his colleagues to move on him because they seemed to know him,” he added.
Some hawkers at the scene alleged that the KCCA agents solicit a weekly fee of Shs40,000 from them.
Ms Anna Kyohirwe, a street hawker, alleged that KCCA officers solicit a ‘welcome fee’ as the weekly remittance charge and ‘ettoffali fee’ as a charge that allows the hawker to freely operate and be spared as during enforcement operations.
“KCCA [officials] don’t like Juma and frequently arrest him. They send their boys to get a welcome fee of Shs20,000 on Tuesday and we give them another Shs20,000 on Thursday as the ‘ettofaali fee’,” Ms Kyohirwe, who also claims to be the information officer of Twegatte Hawkers’ Group, said.
Asked about bribe allegations, KCCA officials said they hadn’t learnt of them but urged the public to forward the information to their offices.
City vendors and KCCA officials have always been at loggerheads.
During her seven-year tenure as the executive director, Ms Jennifer Musisi, had been branded as an iron-hand lady who used a high-ended approach to implement development policies in the city.
This, however, attracted anger from vendors and other business people who claimed they were being pushed out of trade.