Presidential Nominations: Kyagulanyi Detained, Supporters Teargassed, Injured

At least two people were injured outside presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s residence at Magere in Wakiso district as the police fired tear gas and bullets to disperse supporters of the music star, turned politician.

The police grabbed Kyagulanyi out of his car a few metres from the Electoral Commission (EC) nomination centre at Kyambogo University, and, drove him back to Magere despite his earlier indication that he was to launch his campaign manifesto from the National Unity Platform (NUP) headquarters at Kamwokya.

The NUP president insisted on going to Kamwokya for his scheduled program but the police, backed up by the military could not allow him. The armed men had ordered by security to enter his home but he attempted to walk to Kamwokya before the military police barricaded the road, grabbed him and locked him in a police double-cabin truck.

As the crowd continued to grow, the police fired tear gas and bullets to disperse the now rowdy NUP supporters who at some point punctured the tyres of the police truck where Kyagulanyi was being held.

Speaking to journalists, Kyagulanyi accused the security detail that the EC assigned masterminding his arrest shortly after his nomination.

With the situation continuously getting out of hand, the police commanders on ground pleaded with the other NUP leaders including Mathias Mpuuga, the party’s vice president in charge of Buganda, to talk to the supporters to calm down but to no avail.

Mpuuga counterpart in Eastern Uganda, John Baptist Nambeshe blamed the security for the fracas, saying there was no justification for blocking their candidate from unveiling his manifesto just like the other presidential candidates.

There was heavy deployment of security personnel in all major towns

RUNNING BATTLES

In different parts of the country, the police were involved in running battles with Kyagulanyi’s supporters who organized parties to celebrate his nomination as a presidential candidate.

His supporters first tasted teargas as he headed to Kyambogo for nomination. Police on different occasions fired teargas at ecstatic supporters who lined up the roads to cheer him.
In Kamwokya, police added live bullets to the teargas to disperse NUP supporters who were celebrating his nomination.

The chaos started when the police officers attached to the Field Force Unit tried to gain access to the offices of the NUP but the party supporters resisted.

In the western Uganda city of Fort Portal, police deployed early in the morning to block the NUP post-nomination celebrations.

On Monday, NUP leaders in Tooro sub-region used social media to mobilise the party supporters to gather at their Ruhandiika Street office for a procession around the city.

In Masaka City, the NUP supporters held a procession in a convoy of motor vehicles that drove around the town hooting and loudly playing Kyagulanyi songs.

However, police led by David Katunda, the Masaka District Police Commander responded by firing teargas and rubber bullets to disperse them.

In the ensuing scuffle, police arrested several people power politicians and supporters who included the Bukoto East MP Florence Namayanja, Nyendo-Ssenyange Division Chairperson Michael Mulindwa Nakumusana, Alice Nannungi among others.

The former People’s Development Party-PDP President-General and now NUP parliamentary flag bearer for Kimananya-Kabonera division Abed Bwanika is nursing injuries after he was allegedly hit by a teargas canister on his forehead.

In Luwero, immediately after Kyagulanyi was declared nominated, hundreds of his supporters thronged the NUP offices located at Kyebutika road near Kasana Police Station in Luwero town council to celebrate his nomination.

The supporters who were following the event on Television burst into celebrations, banged jerry cans and drums while others danced to Kyagulanyi’s songs.

The supporters said the nomination was a great step for Kyagulanyi to liberate the country, arguing that government had connived with some people to block his nominations through a case challenging NUP case.

Ronnie Ssevume said his nomination was a clear sign that he can also be declared by EC even after defeating NRM Presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni in free and fair elections.

Others Supporters said they were ready to mobilize for Kyagulanyi because NRM government has failed to compensate veterans and neglected the area which brought into power.

Samuel Bunjo a mobiliser for NUP says that despite Luwero Contribution to the war the brought the current government, NRM has not done much for them arguing that it is high time to vote them out.
In Jinja, youth in the slums of Kibuga Mbata and Soweto also remotely celebrated the nomination of Kyagulanyi.

Musa Okitoi, a NUP supporter says Kyagulanyi has created a sign of hope for the disadvantaged youth within the country.

Peter Kasolo, NUP mayoral flag bearer for Jinja City noted that most of their plans to organize peaceful celebrations were foiled by police.

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