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Mabira Forest Giveaway
On the 12th of April, 2007 Police granted permission to the demonstrators to stage a peaceful demo against the Mabira giveaway.The Police promised that no teargas would be used as this was a national issue.
A few opposition MPs were granted permission to access the parliament chambers to hand over the petition something that did not amuse the rioters who opted on taking to the streets.A police pickup on site was attacked and the policemen on board were forced to flee for their dear lives.The rioters literally moved to the city center and this time round targeting Asians.Some people who appeared light skinned were affected in the process.
This saga stems from a government plan to to giveaway a third of Mabira Forest to Lugazi Sugar (SCOUL) after the Sugar company asked government to degazette the forest and allocate the land to the factory which would subsequently increase the sugar output and save the country in terms of Sugar imports.Efforts of saving Mabira brought in the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi who allocated 7000 hectares of his land as opposed to destroying Mabira.This landed on deaf ears and instead the SCOUL bosses set conditions for alternative land.The conditions were not so favorable forcing the anti Mehta Campaign getting to the level of being granted a peaceful demonstration that turned out otherwise as seen below:
11:19 am All shops in Kampala are closed, Police is patrolling the city and advising whoever wants to be part of the demo to move to the assigned areas..Meanwhile Simon Njala of Radio one has been knocked by an Indian as the Indian was driving recklessly within the city in fear of demonstrators who are threatening to involve all the Indians in the Mabira giveaway saga.Simon Njala has been rushed to hospital in a critical condition.
12:36 pm One Indian Killed, One Trailer burnt, Security deployed heavily around Indian Institutions.A scooter belonging to an Indian has also been burnt around Conrad Plaza.Another Indian around New Taxi Park had to run for his dear life leaving his shop and some money behind for the demonstrators to feast on.
2:41 pm Shops still closed, 3 people dead of which one is of Indian Origin.The demo was supposed to be peaceful but it somehow turned out violent and the demonstrators are targeting people of Indian Origin.Meanwhile buses are ferrying many Indians to various police stations for protection.
3:00 pm Bank of Baroda's windows have been shattered and the bank has been forced to close probably till tomorrow says the Chief Operations Manager.Kampala is now calm after a heavy down pour that forced the situation to cool.
6:11 pm The city is calm with most people heading back to their homes though its clearly deserted from the look of events with most windows to various shops broken.Security personnel are allover the city just to ensure law and order.Rioters broke into one of the shops selling bikes that belonged to an Asian and made away with all the bikes and spare parts ...
8:02 pm Indians in Lugazi where Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL) is based are gathered around the Police station after learning of what befell their colleagues early in the day.Some have started heading to neighboring Kenya.
That is how the Mabira demonstration ended.Meanwhile the President has said "No one will intimidate me on Mabira and I cannot be shouted at.I cannot be deterred by people who do not know where the future lies.Uganda cannot go far without adventuring into industrialization.If we stay without factories, poverty will reign on us and we may even be colonized again".