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Opposition vow to stop lord mayor by-election

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(L-R)  Dr Besigye, Rubaga South MP Ken Lukyamuzi,

(L-R) Dr Besigye, Rubaga South MP Ken Lukyamuzi, embattled Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Mr Assuman Basalirwa of Jeema party during a press conference in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA 

By Stephen Kafeero & Emmanuel Mulondo

Posted  Tuesday, March 18  2014 at  02:00

In Summary

Argument. Opposition politicians say the planned by-election is an illegality.

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Opposition politicians have warned the Electoral Commission (EC) and government against organising a by-election for the Kampala lord mayoral seat. Led by former FDC leader Dr Kizza Besigye, the politicians vowed to use any means possible to “stop an illegality from taking place”.

“If they want to organise an election, we shall not front a candidate but we will participate in it in a different way,” Dr Besigye said. He added: “When that election comes, my job is to mobilise people to fight those participating and organising and if this regime is not careful, it might also see its end in the same elections.”

Dr Besigye, who also dismissed media reports that he is being fronted as a candidate for the post, said participating in this by-election planned for April 17, would be to “legitimise what they are doing,” and those vying for the post are “opportunists”.

Justice Forum president Asuman Basalirwa, who is also a practicing advocate, said: “Most likely anybody who has participated in abusing the court order will be seeing the doors of Luzira (prison) on Thursday.”

“If (Electoral Commission chairperson Badru) Kiggundu organises an illegal election in the city, it will be an important opportunity for the people to restore constitutionalism in the country,” he added.

However, EC deputy spokesperson Paul Bukenya said in a phone interview last evening: “The electoral programme is on and whoever feels aggrieved should go to court.”
Masaka Municipality MP and opposition coordinator, Mr Mathias Mpuuga, told the Daily Monitor that if the poll ever takes place, they will participate in a way that expresses their discontent with the regime.

“Maybe God is finally answering our prayers to finally resolve the problems of this country. Let the sham elections be held and finally Uganda’s Waterloo will be written,” he said.
Meanwhile, opposition politicians are planning two rallies in Katwe (Makindye West Constituency) on Wednesday and another on Sunday at Wankuluku (Rubaga South constituency) to further mobilise the people against the by-election.

Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante told journalists: “We have communicated to police and we hope they will not misbehave.” But Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Ibin Ssenkumbi yesterday said the Force had not received any communication from the rally organisers. “The only letter we have received is from Mr Kasibante to meet his constituents. We cannot work with A4C/4GC because they are an outlawed group,” he said.

Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago said they are taking the matter to the people for a final decision because the State and its cohorts want to circumvent the will of the people. “We are not going to relent in pursuing these matters legally, but at the same time we realise that the regime has no regard for the rule of law, a situation for which we seek to involve the people who sustain both the regime in power and those opposing it,” he said.

Mr Lukwago was controversially impeached during a KCCA session that was chaired by minister for Kampala Frank Tumwebaze, disregarding a court order issued by Justice Yassin Nyanzi in mid-November last year.

He has since been stopped from accessing his office even when the courts have declared that he remains the Lord Mayor until his petition against a tribunal which investigated him is disposed of.