Police in Jinja blocked all planned rallies for presidential aspirant John Patrick Amama Mbabazi which he had scheduled in the town for Thursday 10th after the Town Clark reversed his decision to let the former premier address a rally in Kakindu stadium.
The blocking of Mbabazi’s meetings in Jinja came after the Town Clerk David Kyasanku issued a statement that over-turned an earlier approval for Mbabazi’s team to hold rallies at Kakindu Stadium and Kazimingi Industrial park citing disturbances to businesses.
Kyasanku’s letter read: “I regret to inform you that permission on the selected days for the venues requested for is not granted. Unless an alternative free Hall is sought for.”
Mbabazi’s team contested the police blockade as they displayed to the media an earlier statement of approval by the Jinja Mayor Hajj Muhammad Kezaala, who is also a member of the top leadership of the Democratic Alliance that granted Mbabazi the right to hold consultations in any public venue in the town.
By Thursday morning anti-riot police had surrounded the two venues earlier ear-marked by Mbabazi’s team in Jinja amid condemnation and curses that the police and regime supporters’ actions were simply malicious and illegal.
The Jinja stand-off between Mbabazi’s team and security agencies,
followed episodes of tear gas and firing of live bullets that greeted the former Prime Minister as he held a rally in Soroti town.
The sudden upturn in the use of violence and blockades followed what some regime sympathisers considered ‘worrying’ crowd levels as thousands of people thronged Mbabazi’s rallies in Mbale and Kapchorwa.
In Jinja the Police also used a letter from the Electoral Commission (EC) to explain their actions. The alleged letter noted that Mbabazi was only allowed to consult and not to campaign or hold rallies because he has not yet been declared a candidate.
Regional Police Commander Kiira region SP. Edison Nyabongo said he had received another letter from the Chairman of Jinja Taxi Operators Association Hajji Khalid Muyingo requesting him not to allow political activities at Kazimingi since they interfere with their taxi business.
“Yes we are worried that activities maybe paralyzed in the park since Kazimingi ground is just adjacent we asked the council to allocate a different venue to the aspirant,” Hajji Muyingo told our reporter when contacted.
The RPC also says he received another communication from the Chairman of the Electoral Commission Badru Kigundu not to allow any political rallies of presidential aspirants before the official stipulated dates are declared by the commission.
But the Chairperson of the organizing Committee for Amama Mbabazi’s political activities Robert Kanusu said the state agencies had instigated the letters and vowed to go to courts of law.
In Mbale, our sources say that Mbabazi’s team had done marvellous work in mobilising people to turn up for the former prime minister’s consultations.
It has been alleged that even before declaring his intentions to run for president, Mbabazi has had some considerable influence in the Eastern region after he showered his mobilisers with cash, and in some instances cars, to the chagrin of NRM supporters.
This week, the rumour that Mbabazi had travelled along with his deep pockets permeated the villages of Mbale and forced many out of their houses to try their luck for money but also listen in to his messages of change.
In some places in Mbale, some people smartly put on ‘Kikofiira’ T-Shirts implying President Yoweri Museveni’s supporters and demanded for money before they would accept to take on Mbabazi’s T-shirts.
On the other hand, it has been alleged that the NRM machinery, allegedly led by Capt. Mike Mukula resorted to dish out cash to persuade people from attending Mbabazi’s rally.
Mbabazi’s earlier consultations, under the NRM were frustrated by the Police citing lack of permission from the party’s leadership.
But even after announcing his independence drive, Mbabazi has faced a blockade few anticipated since his colleagues Kizza Besigye, Mugisha Muntu have done their consultations veryrecently without any police interference.
This has prompted Mbabazi’s Jinja organizing committee boss Robert Kanusu to swear that: “This is now a legal issue and we are closely in touch with Mr. Muwema and others to give us a direction, but the programme still stands as earlier planned.”
Well, for Dr. Kizza Besigye, Mbabazi’s woes are a welcome message to the ill treatment of the opposition by president Museveni’s government.