At about 11:30am, presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu of the National Unity Platform (NUP) was ushered into the Electoral Commission (EC) chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama’s boardroom to discuss the security agencies continued disruption of his campaign program.
On Tuesday, Kyagulanyi suspended his campaign program after the police and soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) showered his car with bullets as he entered Jinja city in eastern Uganda.
The NUP leader had earlier tasted the wrath of the security forces as the campaigned in Kayunga district. Several people including his police guard ASP Wilber Kato escaped with injuries.
To the meeting with the EC chairman, Kyagulanyi who was in the company of his party’s secretary general among others carried a collection of photos of the atrocities the security agencies have committed against him and his supporters since November 3, the day he was nominated as a presidential candidate for the 2021 elections.
As the NUP team demanded to know why the EC has remained silent as the police and the military brutally block their campaign meetings, Byabakama who was flanked by two other commissioners reportedly claimed that he had not been following since he is not on social media nor does he watch TV news.
It was at this stage that Kyagulanyi presented his photographic evidence as he demanded that the EC takes charge of the electoral process or resign.
“The reason we came to the EC is not because we expect them to do anything but because we wanted to go on record and tell the EC about the atrocities the police and the military are committing,” Kyagulanyi told reporters who had camped at the EC offices.
“We have tasked them to take charge or resign. It is now like the electoral process is being managed by the police and the army. The EC should tell the police to stop blocking roads and determining venues for us,” he added.
BYABAKAMA MEETS POLICE
Following their meeting, Byabakama engaged the police leadership and agreed that the EC convenes a meeting between the police, Kyagulanyi as well as other presidential candidates who have complained about the disruptions by the police.
Byabakama said that the meeting will help to interrogate the issues and reach a way forward for a peaceful and tranquil election.
“We have also agreed that the candidates sign a memorandum of understanding with the EC committing to abide by the [Covid-19] guidelines,” Byabakama said.
“If candidates and supporters abide by the guidelines, I don’t see why the police would come in with a hard hand,” he added.
Outside the EC offices was a heavy deployment of both the military and the police as was the case in different parts of Kampala.
Anti-riot police trucks we stationed at the Kitgum House traffic lights as other security personnel made foot patrols along Jinja Road in anticipation of a procession by the presidential hopeful.
Old Kira Road which stretches past the NUP offices at Kamwokya was closed off with roadblocks at the Kyebando road junction and Kamwokya market.
Deployments were also visible at Kisekka market, Wandegeya, Mulago and parts of the Northern bypass and Jinja road.