KAYUNGA, UGANDA: Police on Tuesday fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters who had organized a procession in Kayunga Town canvassing support for the party candidate.
According to the campaign harmonized programme, Ms Harriet Nakwede, the NUP flag bearer was supposed to conduct her final campaigns in Kayunga Town Council. However, by mid-day, the Electoral Commission stopped her campaigns on grounds that she was planning to host the party president Robert Kyagulanyi, in the same area President Museveni was to address supporters of the NRM party candidate, Mr Andrew Muwonge.
“The purpose of this letter is, therefore, to inform you that you’re not allowed to carry on with the campaigns in Kayunga town council,” the letter seen by this reporter reads in part.
The new directive from the Electoral Commission however, angered NUP supporters who matched on streets of Kayunga town chanting Mr Kyagulanyi’s name. This compelled police officers who were accompanied by the UPDF soldiers to fire live bullets and teargas.
Nakwede accused EC of taking sides with the NRM party officials. She also wondered why President Museveni decided to visit Kayunga at the time Mr Kyagulanyi was supposed to be in the district.
“She was saying we can choose to go to another sub county but our interest now is the people of Kayunga town council because we have been to all those other places,” Ms Nakwede said.
According to the harmonized programme, Mr Muwonge, the NRM candidate was supposed to conduct campaigns at Kayonza sub-county. By the time of filing this story, President Museveni was to visit the other three sub-counties of Kayonza, Kayunga Town Council, and Busana.
When contacted, the Kayunga District returning officer Ms Jenipher Kyobutungi declined to explain why Nakwede’s campaigns were stopped.
Ms Kyobutungi, however, said Ms Nakwede declined to turn up when she was invited to review the harmonization programme.
“I called hourable, we talked about it and I requested her to choose another venue of her choice so that we can provide her with security so that she leaves the town council for the president being the fountain of honour. I thank hon Nakwedda because she agreed with that. She knows she cannot be in the same place with the president at the same time. The only thing about that venue…When you read that letter it’s open and doesn’t show where she’ll be. I wanted to give her chance to choose the venue. Unfortunately she didn’t come to tell me where she will be,” she said.
Mr Charles Tebandeke, the Bbaale County MP wondered why EC is forced to change the programme because of the president’s visit yet it claims to be independent.
The development happened hours after police and the army surrounded Mr Kyagulanyi’s residence and put him under house arrest.