Uganda gov’t calls for investigations into burning of Uganda House during Tuesday demos

The burning Uganda House. PHOTO/@LarryMadowo/X
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The government of Uganda has called for investigations into the burning of the just renovated Uganda House in Nairobi.

The building located along Kenyatta Avenue which housed Uganda’s Consular Office caught fire on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, in the wake of the anti-Finance Bill protests that turned deadly.

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Uganda House re-opening

Uganda has condemned the burning of the building which was set for official reopening on Friday, June 28, 2024, after undergoing renovations.

The Yoweri Museveni-led administration says the protesters abandoned the principle of peaceful demonstrations and took the path of destruction of properties.

“In the wake of protests in Kenya, on June 25th 2024, the protestors abandoned the principle of peaceful demonstrations and took the path of destruction of properties wherein the newly refurbished Uganda House – a Commercial Building located on Kenyatta Avenue in the Nairobi Central Business District was vandalized and set ablaze,” the statement signed by Uganda Media Centre Permanent Secretary Vincent Waiswa reads in part.

The neighboring country while condemning the violence witnessed during the Tuesday demos has called for calm and discouraged speculations to allow smooth investigations into the incident.

“We support peaceful demonstrations as a democratic right but we condemn in the strongest terms, violence that leads to destruction of property and loss of lives. We therefore call for calm, discourage unnecessary and unhelpful speculation and premature conclusions to allow for investigations into the matter,” the statement reads.

Uganda House tenants

Uganda says the 6-storey Uganda House building was only occupied by commercial tenants on the ground floor at the time of the fire incident.

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The other floors, including, the Third Floor which previously housed the Consular Office, had been vacated to allow renovations.

Uganda says none of the Diplomatic or Consular staff were in the building at the time the fire broke out, and that there have been no reported fatalities or serious injuries so far.

“While there is extensive damage to the property, we are grateful that there are no reported fatalities or serious injuries that have been identified so far. It is also important to note that none of the Diplomatic or Consular staff were in the building at the time the fire broke out,” Uganda said in the statement, maintaining that her relations with Kenya remain solid.

Lawyers affected

While the Ugandan government says that the Uganda House building was only occupied by businesses on the ground floor at the time the fire broke out, Lawyer Danstan Omari has stated that 37 attorneys including himself were forced to jump from the fourth floor during the incident.

Omari who spoke to journalists on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, on the aftermath of the deadly demos said that the incident left the advocates who have offices in the building trapped.

“When the fire started coming up, we had to jump from the fourth floor, break the windows, and come down. Otherwise, we could have been burnt alive,”  Omari said.

The businesses on the ground floor of the building were also looted.

President William Ruto while addressing the Tuesday deadly demos said his government has mobilised all the resources available at its disposal to thwart the recurrence of the incident.

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