Soldiers from the Masaka based Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) armoured barracks were called in to save leaders of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) from rowdy party mobilisers who accused them of swindling their transport allowances.
On Tuesday, President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni virtually addressed NRM mobilizers in greater Masaka sub region to urge them to intensify their mobilisation for his re-election bid.
The mobilisers that were drawn from the business community and Boda boda cyclists as well as youth and local government leaders at the sub-county level where divided into two groups – one converging at the Masaka Rugby grounds in Nyendo and the other at Masaka Liberation Square.
Under the tents, they attentively listened to their presidential candidate as he asked them to intensify their campaign efforts and promised to meet all their demands.
However, the situation turned chaotic at both venues shortly after Museveni’s address when the organizers started making arrangements to pay the participants their transport refund and allowances.
At rugby grounds, Boda boda riders turned rowdy protesting the Shs 10,000 that was given to them as transport refund arguing that it was too little compared to what they were promised during their mobilization.
Geoffrey Ssewanyana, the mobilization secretary Masaka-Kitengesa Boda boda stage in Masaka town accused the organizers of pocketing part of their mobilization allowances that was disbursed by the president.
He accused Abdallah Ssennabulya, the Chairperson Masaka Municipality Boda boda Operator’s Society of slashing their allowances from the promised Shs 30,000 to Shs 10,000.
The charged youths turned against the organizers and threatened to beat them up forcing them to flee for their safety.
The angry mobilisers then turned to the NRM campaign T-shirts many of which they tore into pieces as they denounced the party candidates in favor of opposition candidates.
Members of the business community and youth leaders who met at Masaka Liberation Square also turned rowdy and vandalized chairs and tent-stands in protest of the Shs 30,000 they were given.
The figure was way below the amount each expected to receive. One female youth leader who claimed to have travelled from as far as Kacheera in Rakai said that she expected to get not less than Shs 100,000, the amount she had spent on her transport to Masaka.
Those from within Masaka claimed that each was promised an allowance of Shs 150,000.
Gerald Ddundu Tabula and Rogers Buregyeya, the Chairpersons of greater Masaka business community and NRM Youth league respectively were rescued from the chaos by bouncers escorting the Youth Affairs State Minister, Florence Nakiwala who rushed to contain the situation.
The bouncers were backed up by the Kasijjagirwa UPDF Armored Brigade Commander, Brig Deus Sande who rushed to the scene to calm down the rowdy groups.
Abdallah Ssennabulya, the chairperson of Masaka boda boda riders association who was among the organizers of the meeting denied pocketing part of the monies meant for allowances, arguing that the money was not enough compared to the turn-up.
He has also criticized the aggrieved participants for being selfish at the expense of sacrificing for their party.