Despite official public denials, the simmering power race within the ruling NRM appears to be growing wider and sucking in various players suspected to be linked to the dissenting forces.
On Thursday, police, under unclear circumstances, intercepted and arrested three NRM youth leaders, who were travelling to eastern Uganda.
The NRM youth chairman for Katakwi District, Mr Dan Mulalu, Presidential Assistant for political mobilisation Maj Leonard Chemonges and NRM Youth League Chairman for Amuria District Deo Malinga were travelling upcountry for burial but were intercepted in Jinja and interrogated on why and where they were going.
Maj Chemonges said he was going to his home area for burial of Mzee George William Cheborion, the former chairperson of Sabiny Elders Association. Chemonges said Mulalu had asked him for a lift.
However, upon reaching Jinja, he said police intercepted them and asked them to identify themselves. After identifying themselves, police could not allow them to proceed. They were arrested and transferred back to Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate (CIID) headquarters at Kibuli in Kampala.
Maj Chemongose said upon arriving at CIID, they were ushered into offices for interrogation. But he declined to reveal what police interrogated him about.
He only said at one point, police asked him why he was travelling with Mulalu.
He and Mulalu recorded statements and were later released without charge.
However, Malinga was not allowed to return home. He was later charged with possession of stolen property.
When contacted yesterday, Mr Mulalu confirmed the arrest and interrogation but refused to divulge the details.
He said he was still a suspect and that he was still at Kibuli trying to secure Malinga’s release.
Police publicist, Judith Nabakooba confirmed the youth leaders were detained and released but did not give the reason for the interception and interrogation.
“They were released, I have been trying to reach them (CIID staff) but it seems they are in a meeting,” Nabakooba said.
The Jinja arrest follows a similar one where police arrested three other NRM youth leaders; Youth League Chairman for Kampala region Adam Luzindana, Youth League Chairman for Northern Region Omodo-Omodo and Central Region Youth League Chairman William Seruyinda. They have since been charged with abuse of office.
It was not readily established why the NRM youth leaders were arrested but sources within the party claimed they are suspected to be supporters of Prime Minister and party secretary general Amama Mbabazi, whom various NRM youth groups have endorsed to stand against President Museveni as the party’s candidate in the 2016 presidential elections.
Several youths have been arrested for allegedly soliciting signatures from party members to reject the Museveni sole candidacy.
Mr Mbabazi has since disowned the agitating youth and said he has no intention of standing against Museveni.