Saturday February 20 2016

Security besiege Mbabazi’s home

Police camp at the roadside leading to Mr Amama

Police camp at the roadside leading to Mr Amama Mbabazi’s home in Kololo, a Kampala suburb. Inset is Mr Mbabazi. PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI 

By Isaac Imaka & Ivan Okuda


By lunch time yesterday, two police patrol cars and another with military police personnel had cut off the road leading to Independent presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi’s home in Kololo, a Kampala suburb.

Alternately, one patrol car would oscillate from one end of the road to the other to ensure there is no suspicious activity taking place at Mr Mbabazi’s residence and that no gathering was outside his gate as it always is ever since the campaigns started.
All cars heading to his direction had to be checked and drivers questioned. Pedestrians had to answer a plethora of questions, and convincingly.

“What do you mean you are journalists, why do you come here yet the news is happening at Namboole? Is there a meeting at Amama’s home?” asked a police officer who tried to block our entrance. At Mr Mbabazi’s home, his lieutenants were scared.

“Go away, they are going to arrest you,” said one of Mr Mbabazi’s sentries who spoke over the wall fence of the house, before another added: “There is a pick-up truck full of military police passing around and they are picking everyone they find standing outside this house, they have so far taken 20.” They both sounded scared and spoke in low tones.

A lady, one of Mr Mbabazi’s relatives, who wanted to go to the saloon, was asked to wait. They feared she could be arrested. Mr Mbabazi said he was not bothered by police presence.

“It’s their business. They have not told me why they have put the road block. I am not moved,” he said, speaking from outside his gate where had come to meet a group of 15 people who were claiming to be his polling agents and had come to pick their payments.

The officer in charge of the deployment, who refused to say his name, said it was a routine patrol given the status of the area.
“This is Kololo. People who stay here are of high status. We are here because we always deploy in this area to keep it safe. Our deployment should not scare you, but instead inspire you to work hard so that you also start staying in this area so that we guard you like this,” he said.

Mr Patrick Onyango, the spokesperson of Kampala Metropolitan Police, said: “Some campaign agents he didn’t pay wanted to attack him so we had to swing into action and cool down the situation and we shall remain deployed there because they can return and attack the candidate.”

However, the said group went to Mr Mbabazi’s home two hours after police had deployed and were let through the barricade by the police.

Reminded that the said group, of 14 agents, were calm when Mbabazi, who cracked jokes with them punctuated with “give me five” Mr Onyango said, “You are now confirming what we said, we got a call from one of them warning they were going to attack and harm him.”
Speaking with Daily Monitor after the group left his residence, Mr Mbabazi said he suspected the group was a set up.

The deployment happened as police were surrounding FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi where they arrested the party flag bearer, Dr Kizza Besigye.

Mr Mbabazi said he will address the nation on the developments in the country since the voting day. He, however, gave neither the day nor the time.

The former prime minister also condemned the clampdown on social media on election day and after saying such a move is a hallmark of a dictatorship.

“Why would they do that? Social media is a platform for information sharing information which is important in a free and fair election. Blocking it is a sign of dictatorship. It is unconstitutional and should be condemned,’ he said.