Four-time presidential candidate Kizza Besigye has said the government is using colonial tactics to stop Opposition leaders from mobilising their supporters ahead of 2021 elections.
Dr Besigye said despite the threats, vanguards of change will not relent.
“The struggle has just begun; police and the government are using tactics of the British, who colonialised us, to threaten people with guns but we are not giving up the struggle. We are moving all over the country to empower Ugandans to stand against the oppressors,” he said in Bushenyi on Wednesday.
This was after Dr Besigye was blocked by police from addressing FDC party supporters at Kizinda playground in Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality. Police used tear gas to disperse his supporters.
“What you are seeing now is a sign that Mr Museveni fears the power of the people. That is why he does not want us to talk to them so that they can get empowered. Once the people are empowered, they will not fear Mr Museveni’s colonial tactics and he will eventually leave power to Ugandans,” he said.
The FDC party president, Mr Patrick Amuriat, said they are not surprised by police actions because their mobilisation activities have always been disrupted and supporters dispersed.
“We are on countrywide mobilisation; we are conducting indoor meetings with our leaders per region and after, we address the public. Out of respect, we inform police of our activities and we know that according to the law, we do not need to seek for permission and they are not supposed block us from addressing our supporters,’’ Mr Amuriat said.
From greater Bushenyi, the team moved to Kigezi sub-region yesterday and today, they are expected to be in greater Mbarara before heading to Buganda sub-region.
“Earlier we had organised to go to Mubende but we were surrounded and could not meet the people. We then went Kaliro our supporters were beaten and harassed. We condemn acts of harassing people and teargasing people by police because this is not expected of a Force that is supposed to keep law and order,” Mr Amuriat said.
However, the police spokesperson for Greater Bushenyi region, Mr Martial Tumusiime, said FDC did not seek permission to address the rally.
“Dr Besigye came to Bushenyi on Wednesday and he was allowed to go to BFM radio station. Thereafter, he went to a hotel where he met his people and we did not have a problem with that. But he was stopped from addressing a rally in Kizinda because they had not asked for permission and that is when there was a bit of teargas,’’ Mr Tumusiime said.
He added that police are acting professionally and we will remain doing so.