“I have authority, I repeat; I have power, and therefore warn whoever thinks of attacking NRM supporters to prepare for his grave,” the state minister for Microfinance, Harunah Kyeyune Kasolo said on December 3 while addressing NRM supporters at Kalisizo in Kyotera district.
The following day, Richard Kayabula was gunned down by the police during a campaign rally by John Paul Mpalanyi, the DP candidate who is challenging Kasolo for the Kyotera MP seat.
Mpalanyi had gone to campaign at Nakatoogo in Nabigasa sub-county, Kyotera district but the campaign meeting turned chaotic as his supporters clashed with rival NRM supporters.
Police fired teargas and live bullets to quell the situation and in the process shot Kayabula in the head killing him instantly.
Five others including two pupils of Nakatoogo Primary School were injured.
The killing sparked a series of protests and calls on the top National Resistance Movement (NRM) leadership to reprimand their candidate, Kasolo, whom they accuse of sending his supporters to disorganise the DP rally.
Still the protesters want the police to arrest the group that interrupted their rally and caused a situation which led to the death of their colleague.
At first it was alleged that Kayabula was shot three times in the head in an execution style which propelled the protesters’ anger.
Groups of protesters have been camping at the hospital demanding the body and the postmortem report.
However, the postmortem report revealed that one bullet hit Kayabula from the back of the head, which calmed the protesters.
In a video clip he circulated on social media, Kasolo pleaded innocence and accused his rivals of wanting to make political capital out of an unfortunate incident.
This is after he was accused of ordering the police to fire at the opposition supporters.
“I was in Lwankoni that day, I had no programmes for Nabigasa but I heard that Kisekulo [Patrick Kintu, Kyotera LC-V chairman] and Mpalanyi were in Nabigasa, destroying my posters and those of other NRM candidates, beating up whoever was wearing an NRM t-shirt,” Kasolo said.
“I learnt that some leaders in Nabigasa called the DPC [District Police Commander, Judith Akello] who deployed at Nakatoogo. I was also informed by the DPC that she found a riotous situation at Nakatoogo; the rioters pelted the police with stones forcing the police to respond with teargas and live ammunition,” he added.
Kasolo also accused Kisekulo and Mpalanyi of facilitating a gang that uses knives and hammers to terrorise NRM supporters.
Kisekulo on the other hand accuses Kasolo of misusing the police and called on the district security committee to act responsibly to stem acts of election violence.
Muhammad Nsubuga, the Masaka regional police spokesperson, says they have arrested four people from Kasolo’s camp for attacking Mpalanyi’s supporters and investigations continue.
Additional reporting by URN