Saturday January 9 2016

Mbabazi petitions EC over Museveni visit

Presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi at a press

Presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi at a press conference last year. Right, President Museveni at a press conference in Kabale District on Tuesday. Photos by Abubaker Lubowa and Colleb Mugume 

By Isaac Imaka

Kampala. Presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi has written a protest letter to the Electoral Commission challenging the scheduled appearance of his rival, candidate Yoweri Museveni in Mbale, on the same day that the Go Forward flag bearer will be campaigning.
In a three-page letter to the commission, the Go Forward independent candidate said the intended appearance of rival candidate Museveni on the days gazetted for him, is only calculated “to provoke and disorganise Mr Mbabazi.”

“The purpose of this letter is to notify you that Mr Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will be responsible for any eventualities and/ or nasty consequences resulting from the sad provocative acts,” Mbabazi’s petition filed by his lawyers reads in part.
According to Mr Mbabazi’s campaign schedule, he will be in Mbale on January 9 and 10. In his petition, he claims Mr Museveni will also be in Mbale on the same dates but he does not disclose the venues or what the President would be doing there.

Mr Museveni, according to the Electoral Commission programme, is supposed to be in Isingiro district on January 9 and have a free day on January 10.
He conducted rallies in Bugisu sub-region in December.
In a text response to Saturday Monitor, the Electoral Commission spokesperson said he was not privy to the President’s programmes and therefore had no clue whether the head of state will be going to Mbale or what he will be doing there on the said dates.

“If it is true that he will be in Mbale for a function to perform as a President of this country, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The problem would come if he too went to Mbale to campaign when he is not scheduled to be there on that day,” Mr Taremwa said.
The NRM deputy spokesperson and Uganda Media Centre Executive Director, Mr Ofwono Opondo, said he was not aware of any scheduled visit for the President in Mbale or Bugisu sub-region on the mentioned dates and said the petition was a result of panic inside Mbabazi’s camp. He said Mbabazi’s Go Forward people are simply “panicking and Mbabazi getting desperate.”

No schedule
“There is no scheduled campaign for President Museveni on January 10. I heard he is supposed to be in Manafwa but that is a different district anyway. What is for sure is that he has no public rally in Mbale or Busigu region. But you can’t also say that because a presidential candidate is in a place, no activity should be done by the President,” he said.

Yesterday the NRM lawyers of Kiwanuka and Karugire Advocates wrote to EC Chairman, informing him that candidate Museveni remains the President of Uganda and therefore his state duties cannot be curtailed. However, they also indicated that he has no plan to visit Mbale district between January 9 and 10 as alleged by Mr Mbabazi.
“It has become a habit for the complainant to invent fictional grievances, such as this, which our client is then required to respond to. We therefore request you to advise the complainant to substantiate this and all other future allegations he is sure to make,” the lawyers stated.