From the Outside Looking in
For a considerable time, Scott DeLisi did so.
This is hopefully in anticipation that it will have some desirable effect; but, it will not be surprising that the NRM regime will ignore this complaint from the diplomatic community as interference in the country’s internal affairs. It all typifies the behavior of the regime to promulgate one thing, and then, do the complete opposite.
The actions of the Kayihura Police can be observed everywhere: whether it is towards Erias Lukwago in Kampala; Gilbert Olanya in Apaa, Amuru; or, Amama Mbabazi in Soroti.
The now-infamous tear gas is on liberal display in suppressing the expression of the people towards this regime. It is not applied to the NRM politicians in similar campaign actions, when the crowds get rowdy for one displeasure or another; for instance, in the case of Theodore Ssekikuubo, recently in Lwemiyaga.
The Kayihura Police has now latched on to the unclear legal interpretation of the issue of “consultations” as against “campaigns”, as concerns the electoral law, in which politicians introduce themselves to the public for their pursuit for presidential aspirations. Before the campaign season is allowed, an urgent clarification of this is necessary for both the Kaihura Police and the Electoral Commission.
Yet, for the political pundits and observers, like the diplomats, it is obvious that the problem is the show of the crowds. The NRM regime is frightened that for the people to throng the opposition politicians, is a show of extreme disfavor of their regime: this is what they do not want the whole world to see. They have been telling endless lies that the regime is “popular” and “democratic”, but the crowds are telling a different story.
Issues like the Amuru land are clear: the owners of the land do not want, either to demarcate, or sell their land. Yet, the proponents of the regime are forcibly doing these things which are not to the advantage of the people, but for the marauding interests of the “investors”.
Any regime that is popular would have listened to the interests of “their” people. This is not with the NRM. Instead the local representatives of the area are bundled into the Kaihura Police vehicles when they protest the unpopular actions.
Or, when, Lukwago is consulting in his constituency, which covers Owino Market. He is arrested and bundled to the Kaihura CPS, on the presumed charge that he is interfering with the flow of commercial activity.
This flies in the face of the fact that it is the traders themselves, who are welcoming the man. The problem, however, is that it shows the popularity of the fellow, as against the bogus claims that it is the NRM that cares for the people.
Mbabazi’s recent trip to the east is classic in the observance of the double standards of the Kaihura Police. It also showed some fascinating undercurrents that are showing up in the political arena.
In Mbale, what the NRM regime wanted to hide from the rest of the people of Uganda was the fact that, even in what is considered an FDC stronghold, the people welcomed Mbabazi, until recently their NRM persecutor.
That he is “seen” to clearly throw his lot with the opposition is another sign of the annoyance the NRM carries for the public. A section of the crowds even broke out into the UPC song of, “Congress of the People”. It was a show of the realignment of the political forces and the interests of the people.
This was underscored by the behavior of the crowds in both Soroti and Jinja. Generally, Jinja and the Busoga Region, has been previously considered the preserve of the NRM. Yet, it took the Kaihura Police to shoot into the crowds and injure one person to disperse the crowds that were thronging to Mbabazi, despite their blocking the venues that the same Kainura Police had earlier allowed Mbabazi to operate in.
Also, in Soroti, characteristically considered an area for opposition, it was both unnerving and, for Mbabazi, it must have been a huge surprise, that the people, even a young boy of about eleven years, dared the Kaihura Police tear gas.