Wednesday January 27 2016

Bishop, Mbabazi supporters arrested as police suppress anti NRM crusade

Bishop Merechzedeck Rugogamu at Rukungiri

Bishop Merechzedeck Rugogamu at Rukungiri police station on Tuesday afternoon. PHOTO BY PEREZ RUMANZI 


RUKUNGIRI. The head of the Pentecostal churches in Rukungiri and Kanungu districts Bishop Merekizedeck Rugogamu was among the people arrested by Rukungiri District police in a crackdown against purported NRM supporters who wanted to cross to the Go Forward camp on Tuesday morning.
He was arrested at Heritage Country Club together with Andrew Muhangi, Enoth Tayebwa and another man only identified as Tumukunde.
Bishop Rugogamu is coordinator for the Go Forward campaign in Rukungiri. They had planned to address a press conference and unveil NRM supporters that have allegedly crossed to Independent presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi’s camp.

Police accused Bishop Rugogamu and other Go Forward supporters for holding an illegal meeting and being in possession of fake NRM cards. “We had got prior information that these people wanted to burn NRM party materials including T-shirts and party cards before press. This is against the electoral laws; we warned them before but this morning we found them in possession of the same materials,” Mr Nicholas Wotwali, Rukungiri District Police Commander told journalists at his office.

He said they had not booked the venue for their meeting, and that Heritage Country Club management asked police to secure it. Police deployed heavily at the venue early on Tuesday morning checking whoever was arriving, for NRM party materials. Those found in possession of the materials were arrested and taken to police. Mr Wotwali said some people possessed many cards not in their names and some were written on 2016 as the year of birth.
However Mr Rugogamu told journalists at police that he was just being witch hunted for supporting Mr Mbabazi.

“I have my reasons why I supported Hon. Mbabazi, no one can force me to support any other person. I am the district coordinator, but they are harassing me for that, I will not abandon Mbabazi, I was in NRM and I saw what happened, I was there up to NRM primaries. Police picked me from home. I cannot organise an NRM meeting; they [NRM supporters] organised themselves and called me to talk to them,” he said.