Big Story: Uganda’s teargas consignment allegedly goes missing

Tear gas comes in a variety of chemical formulas designed to irritate people’s mucous membranes, causing coughing, crying, sneezing, breathing difficulties, and severe pain in the eyes. 

Its deployment dates back to the First World War when xylyl bromide was used to force disoriented soldiers out of their trenches, exposing them to artillery fire.

And in Uganda, it’s commonly used by the Uganda Police force to disperse opposition politicians especially those inclined towards ousting President Museveni  through their “unlawfully assemblies”

This morning our news desk received an email from an anonymous person that Uganda’s tear gas consignment procured from South Africa has gone missing.

According to the anonymous email, the consignment was supposed to arrive around September but surprisingly it has not yet checked in.

The whistle blower further alleges that the state house has requested for more funds through the supplementary budget to order another shipment from South Africa before elections chaos starts.

However when we contacted some know big figures in security organs, some dismissed these allegations arguing that it’s propaganda from opposition parties trying to deceive the public into believing that Uganda police force teargas inventory is dry

“Let me assure you sir, our teargas inventory is very loaded and anyone saying that we are out of stock, they’re just bluffing.”

A source narrated

Kampala the capital city of Tear gas

Kampala – the tear gas capital of sub-Saharan Africa – Edward, a vendor in the Nakasero market, says he has been exposed to tear gas five times in the last 3 months. David, a boda-boda rider, reports having experienced it on some thirty separate occasions.

The use of teargas in Kampala is so prevalent that some people have responded by electing their defense committees

These groups are responsible for anticipating the arrival of police, transporting afflicted persons to safe areas, and administering towels soaked in water and lemon juice.

The political situation in Uganda today is alarming. Museveni has declared his interest to expand his rule to 40 years in office.

According to the opposition, they are adamant that the elections will not be free and fair and are determined to challenge them in any way possible.

And if this happens, there is little doubt that tear gas will drift in ever greater quantities through the markets and streets of Kampala.

As Agnes Nakasujja, a spice vendor in one of the capital’s markets, laments: “We feel bad, because we know what is next.”

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Patrick Luwagga is the editorial director of cross-platform content for UGANDANZ. He works across the newsroom and with business partners to drive and develop ambitious editorial projects that include digital journalism, video, data research, polling, live events, and thought-leadership series that are supported by outside underwriting. As executive director, he is responsible for the creation of Political news section, prior to joining UGANDANZ, Patrick was the chief editor for the national weekly news magazine of Kasese Times. In that role, he covered several presidential elections, wrote and produced two television documentaries, and was a regular commentator on television and radio news programs. Patrick was born in Masaka and grew up in Kasese. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Makerere University where he was a Knight Foundation journalism fellow.