A planned campaign rally for National Unity Platform (NUP) party presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine was on Wednesday blocked as police and NUP supporters engaged in running battles.
Trouble started on Tuesday night when Kyagulanyi’s arrived in Kitgum and was intercepted by security that blocked him from accessing Kitgum town before leading him with his entourage to Acaki Lodge some 3 kilometers south of Kitgum Municipality.
“We got to Kitgum at 3:00 am this morning and found a roadblock at the entrance to the district. They said they had orders for us not to step in the district. Earlier, they had lied that our program was clashing with that of another candidate, until late in the night when we engaged the Electoral Commission,” Kyagulanyi state in a post on his Facebook.
He claims that Acaki Lodge where the security led them to belongs to an NRM official in the district, and it is from there that the security chiefs in the district wanted him to address his campaign meeting.
“They insisted we must address our people from a place far away from town and attempted to block us from proceeding to Kitgum. But the people of Kitgum resisted this illegal conduct and swarmed us. Consequently, we have not held our campaign meeting as planned, but the people of Kitgum spoke loud and clear,” Kyagulanyi said.
Kyagulanyi’s planned campaign meeting in Kitgum was scheduled for 9:00 am but was blocked from leaving his hotel until he managed to beat security and later led a procession within the central business district of Kitgum Municipality.
His team had booked Christ the King playground but by daybreak, heavily armed police officers had sealed it off and stopped NUP party members from conducting any activity on grounds.
Rev Fr. Stephen Raphael Kilama, the curate of the Christ the King parish also later stopped NUP from using the facility, saying he had been informed by security that the venue is unsuitable for campaigns.
Kyagulanyi held a procession with his supporters instead and moved towards Pandwong division.
As Kyagulanyi’s procession approached Mon Bunyu market along the Kitgum Lira road, Kyagulanyi attempted to address his supporters. However, a scuffle ensued between the anti-riot police and his supporters.
The police led by the Kitgum District Police Commander Tommy Keith Eyaku fired teargas to disperse Kyagulanyi’s procession.
The police were however outnumbered and overpowered by Kyagulanyi’s entourage. As Kyagulanyi accompanied by his team drove to the central business center, hundreds of locals gathered by the roadside to cheer him while some joined the procession. For an hour, normal businesses and traffic came to a standstill in Kitgum Municipality.
Police looked on helplessly as Kyagulanyi’s procession attracted thousands of people. Kyagulanyi used the opportunity to re-echo his promise to uplift the education standard and the health sector, improve salaries for police officers and the army.
“We are in a mission to freedom. It’s a new generation and a new revolution. We want to change the police, we want better education, the police deserve better and we don’t want our women to die while giving life to young ones,” Kyagulanyi told the crowds.
Police later escorted Kyagulanyi’s team out of the town before teargassing the mammoth crowds that had accompanied him at Corner Alango in Pandwong Division. William Komakech, the Kitgum Resident District Commissioner, says Kyagulanyi deviated from their earlier request to use Acaki lodge instead of Christ the King playground.
He faulted Kyagulanyi for defying the COVID-19 guidelines by holding a procession in the busy municipality, putting the lives of many people at risk.