Africa

'Baby Ryan' buried in Kampala after Uganda uproar

Man holding the body of Ryan Ssemaganda Image copyright Stephen Wandera
Image caption Ryan Ssemaganda's body (being carried) was buried in his home just outside Kampala

The funeral has been held in Uganda of a boy of two, whose death sparked an uproar because he was run over by a council vehicle after his mother was arrested for selling fruit illegally.

The family of Ryan Ssemaganda and opposition politicians had threatened not to bury him until officials had taken responsibility for his death.

His body was taken to parliament on Thursday in protest.

Many Ugandans feel Kampala council is too tough with street vendors.

Image copyright Stephen Wandera
Image caption Ryan Ssemaganda's mother (right) has now been released

Analysis: Catherine Byaruhanga; BBC News, Kampala:

There are two stories at the heart of the public outcry over Baby Ryan's death.

There is a horrific tale of how a toddler was run over and had his head crushed, after being separated from his mother. Some wonder whether Ryan would still be alive if he had been allowed to stay with his mother. A lot of people want someone to blame and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is the main target.

For some, it has also stirred the anger they feel towards KCCA law-enforcement officers. The local authority has banned street vendors and is strict about the way the city is managed. A lot of small traders complain that some officials abuse their powers - stealing merchandise and extorting money.

But many residents here will also tell you that Kampala is cleaner, better run, and better for business.

As well as dealing with the tragic loss of a young child's life and making sure justice is done where necessary, KCCA will also need to address the concerns of vendors and businesses.


His mother was arrested on Monday for selling fruit on the street without a licence.

The following day, his grandmother took him to the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) offices, where the mother had been detained, so she could breastfeed him.

Image copyright Stephen Wandera
Image caption Street vendors have held public protests over the boy's death
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Kampala council is trying to reduce the number of street vendors in the city

The KCCA officials reportedly refused, but while the discussions were going on, he wandered away from his grandmother and was run over by a KCCA vehicle.

The police on Thursday prevented the boy's body from being taken to parliament.

"We don't want a dead body in parliament. Go and bury him, don't disturb the peace of the dead," said regional police commander James Ruhweza, according to the Monitor newspaper.

He said the driver of the vehicle would be charged and urged the family not to let politicians take advantage of the situation.

Opposition politician Erias Lukwago visited the family before they took the boy's body to parliament, the Monitor reports.

Mr Lukwago was last year impeached as Kampala mayor - a move he is challenging in courts, saying it was politically motivated.

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