A day after he was brutally arrested and detained for hours inside a police van, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate, has asked the Electoral Commission to withdraw the security guards it assigned to him.
Following his successful nomination as a candidate for the 2021 presidential elections, Kyagulanyi, like all the other presidential candidates, was given eight guards from the Police’s counter-terrorism unit but the pop music star feels that the guards failed the first test of their duty because they merely looked on as he was being brutalized by their colleagues.
The presidential hopeful was grabbed from his car by security operatives as he drove out of the Kyambogo University sports grounds where the EC conducted the two-day nomination exercise.
While the guards remain camped at Kyagulanyi’s residence at Magere in Wakiso district, the NUP vice-president for Buganda, Mathias Mpuuga told a press conference at the NUP headquarters in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb, that they expect the EC to recall the guards since their candidate has lost interest in their services.
“Neither EC nor Uganda Police should expect his [Kyagulanyi] cooperation with the police escorts, we expect them to withdraw their men, and the message we are giving our people is that if they see those guards following Kyagulanyi, they should look at them as not part of the team, Mpuuga said.
John Baptist Nambeshe, the NUP vice-president for Eastern Uganda challenged the EC to cause for the punishing of the guards.
“The brutality, the maiming of our candidate that was committed in the premises of the EC was an act of terrorism, and the EC must ensure that the perpetrators are punished,” Nambeshe said.
At a separate press conference at the EC headquarters, the electoral body’s chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama described the developments as regrettable and promised to conduct an investigation.
“What we saw is regrettable but we need to know what caused it. If we discover that the security detail we assigned to him was in the wrong, we shall ensure that they are punished,” Byabakama said.
The judge also appealed to the NUP to understand that there were two types of deployments – the official security team the EC assigned to Kyagulanyi and the general deployment.