Police have summoned renowned property owner John Sebalamu, the proprietor of Freedom City Mall along the Kampala-Entebbe Road, following a stampede that claimed 10 lives on New Year’s Eve.
The deceased were part of the revelers attending the party-after-party concert at the mall. In the aftermath, police arrested Abbey Musinguzi, also known as Abitex, the chief organizer of the event, who was charged with nine counts of “rash or negligent acts” and causing death contrary to Section 277 of the Penal Code Act.
Musinguzi, 52, who was represented by his lawyer Erias Lukwago, was subsequently remanded to Luzira Maximum Security Prisons until January 10, when he will return to court for the hearing of his bail application.
It is alleged that Musinguzi and others still at large on December 31, 2022, and January 1, 2023, at Freedom City acted in a manner so rash or negligent that it endangered the lives of people by closing several outlets of the Freedom City mall, leaving one small gate for more than 20,000 people.
Police spokeswoman Fred Enanga said in a statement on Wednesday that the task team, which is actively investigating the tragic incident, has now summoned the proprietor of the building, managers, and other organizers of the show. Also summoned were police officers and other security personnel who were deployed to secure the event, together with the masters of ceremonies, ushers, and bouncers who were dedicated to the event.
According to Enanga, the preliminary police investigations have revealed defects in the planning and control that consequently put lives at risk.
Equally, at a later stage, Enanga disclosed that the police would listen to the aggrieved parents of some of the deceased children to establish how they were disintegrated and got trapped in the narrow passageway. Additionally, he says that the police are slated to issue stringent guidelines on various aspects of planning and managing subsequent future events in order to avoid a repeat of such a tragedy.
The victims of the stampede have been identified as Daniel Kibuuka, Ibrahim Kizito, Nakimati Nazama, Viola Nakanwagi, Mary Namyalo, Haddijja Nakakande, Kibuuka Daniella, Shafiq Mwane, and Margaret Nakatumba.