Friday, April 22, 2011

Walk to Work Day Four and Fifth Death

Baby Juliana Nalwanga became the fifth victim to lose her life to reckless brutal police brutality during what should have been a peaceful walk to work protest over the rising cost of living in Uganda. She was killed by a policeman's stray bullets on April 21st, 2011. The grisly picture of the bleeding body of a baby fondly known as 'Gift' has been cruelly etched on our minds and conscience forever. It was difficult to look directly at Gift's little body, her head and chest shattered by a trigger happy policeman who probably returned to his own children at the end of his work day; leaving behind the lifeless, broken body of a two-year old baby.

Juliana must not become a statistic. She must remain front and centre of our struggle for the right to assemble and to protest peacefully in Uganda. What started as a peaceful protest to underline the suffering of ordinary Ugandans faced with sky rocketing food and fuel prices, due to double digit inflation; has turned into a bitter struggle to defend our basic freedoms and rights. The struggle is now about moving freely to find work and to earn a living, a struggle to express ourselves freely, to associate freely and to protest peacefully. These freedoms are guaranteed by our Constitution but they are denied us in the most inhumane way by a brutal, law breaking police force.

The unnecessary suffering and loss of life that has followed our determination to assert our rights and freedoms is unprecedented. The brutality has only made our resolve to assert those rights and freedoms stronger. We shall walk and walk until our government understands that their duty is to safeguard and not to violate our rights and freedoms; until the government does its job and responds meaningfully to our demands.

In future when we look back to this sad chapter in our country's life, the picture that will forever be imprinted on our minds is that of the little, broken and bleeding body of two year old Juliana Nalwanga - (Gift.)

God rest her little soul in eternal peace.

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