Police on Monday fired live bullets and teargas to disperse supporters of Kyadondo East Member of Parliament, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, in Ndeeba, Kampala, as it blocked his consultative meeting.
Bobi Wine was expected to resume his consultative meetings on Monday starting from Pope Paul Memorial Community Centre in Ndeeba but police denied him access to the venue saying he had not fulfilled some of requirements agreed upon at an earlier joint meeting with Electoral Commission officials and police
Upon being blocked from accessing the venue, Bobi Wine’s supporters started rioting by blocking nearby roads.
Their action prompted police to fire live bullets and teargas to restore order.
Bobi Wine blamed the police for continuously blocking his meetings even after meeting the requirements stipulated in the Public Order Management Act (POMA).
Last week, police said they had not received instructions to respond to Bobi Wine’s notice to resume consultative meetings for his 2021 presidential bid.
Mr Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson, said they had received Bobi Wine’s letter notifying them about his intended consultative meeting at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel but he had not yet seen a response from the police director of operations.
“We have seen this letter but I have to get a response from the director of operations, which I have not seen. When I see it, I will give a position from police as required by the law,” Mr Enanga said.
Kyandondo East Member of Parliament, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, alias Bobi Wine has said he’s going to reschedule his consultation program for his presidential bid, following a meeting with Police and Electoral Commission officials on Thursday.
Speaking to journalists at his offices in Kamwokya hours after a meeting with the Police leadership and the Electoral Commission (EC) on Thursday, Mr Kyagulanyi said that there was an agreement among the three parties that, it is within his right as a presidential aspirant to reach out to Ugandans without any restrictions from the police and other security organs.
“We know that the EC is the institution responsible for overseeing and organizing elections. We had planned to see them but they also invited us to have a conversation. We decided that we are going to reschedule the program for our consultations. We shall write to the Electoral Commission and also write to the police,” he said.
Mr Kyagulanyi sounded optimistic that this time around, their consultation meetings will not be disrupted by the police like it has been this week in Wakiso, Gulu and Lira despite observing all provisions of the Public Order Management Act.
“This time we want the police to observe the law and not to behave in an illegal manner. The EC promised to follow the matter very closely because that’s their responsibility. We are going back to rescheduling board and I can guarantee that they [consultations] will all happen,” he said.
Mr Kyagulanyi was accompanied to the EC headquarters by Mr Asuman Basalirwa, People Power spokesman, Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, Executive Secretary, Mr David Louis Rubongoya and the head of the legal team Mr Benjamin Katana and Ms Flavia Kalule Nabagabe.
Mr Basalirwa said they made it very clear to the police that they are no longer going to obey any orders they deem illegal from the police.
“We don’t expect what has been happening to ensue again because we have told the EC that whatever the police have been doing is illegal. But in the event that it happens again, we are not going to obey any directive we think is illegal,” he said.
Mr Basalirwa added that if anyone tries to carry out violence against them, they will take them on as individuals according to law.
“We have asked police not to deploy officers who don’t have name tags on their uniforms so that we can identify them individually.”
Ms Kalule said as People Power they have no interests in having confrontations with the police, but rather they want to reach out to Ugandans to get their views.
“If police thinks that we are doing campaigns, they should come and be part of these meetings so that they know what we are looking for. The ultimate desire of People Power is to reach to Ugandans and get their views on the Uganda they want,” she said.
Section 6; (1), (b) of POMA, which governs public gatherings states: “Upon receipt of a notification under Section 5, where it is not possible to hold a public meeting… the authorised officer shall, in writing within 48 hours after receipt of the notice, notify the organiser or his or her agent that it is not possible to hold the proposed public meeting and the notice shall be delivered to the organiser’s address as stated in the notice of intention to hold a public meeting.”
On Friday, Bobi Wine wrote to the Inspector General of Police notifying him about his intended consultative meeting.
A copy of the letter indicated that it had been received and stamped on February 14 by Electoral Commission, chairman of Local Council of Pope Paul Zone in Rubaga, Mr Charles Kevu Nsubuga, and Kampala Metropolitan police commander.
Others who received the letter include; Katwe Police station regional commander and Katwe Division police commander.