Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate Patrick Amuriat was yesterday blocked from reaching Kyanika border with Rwanda in Kisoro District where he was scheduled to address his first rally in the district.
Mr Amuriat, who started his campaign day with mass at Christ the King Church in Kabale Town, was intercepted on Kabale-Kisoro road junction, about 5km to the border.
Police under the command of Kisoro District police commander Patrick Byaruhanga blocked Mr Amuriat and his team who included several candidates for different local positions in Kisoro and from the party headquarters in Kampala.
Mr Byaruhanga said they could not allow Mr Amuriat and team to proceed because that venue was not on the campaign programme and the area has many Covid-19 cases.
“We have not allowed FDC presidential candidate Mr Amuriat to proceed to Kyanika border due to Covid-19 guidelines. We have escalating cases of coronavirus in the area. It is the reason we are not allowing political gatherings there,” Mr Byaruhanga said.
After being blocked, Mr Amuriat and team sat in the middle of the road at the junction to Cyanika border and used his public address system to speak to the curious crowds that had converged.
“If Mr Museveni knows that he is popular in Kisoro, why are police interrupting our campaign programme?” he said before he accepted to go to Kisoro stadium where he addressed his supporters under heavy police deployment.
While at the stadium, Mr Amuriat promised to upgrade Kisoro Airfield to an international airport.
“Do not trust Mr Museveni with your vote because he is not your friend. Ask him what happened to your son Kale Kayihura,” he said.
Gen Kayihura, who hails from Kisoro, was sacked as Inspector General of Police in 2018. He was later arrested by the army from his home in Kashagama, Lyantonde District, and charged in the military court.
While campaigning at Nyakabande Chaapa Trading Centre in Kisoro District, Mr Amuriat branded Museveni as a non-friendly person who led to the closure of the Uganda-Rwanda border. He said it is time for Kisoro to express their displeasure and vote out Mr Museveni and all NRM leaders.
Mr Nelson Niyikiza and Mr Owen Ahimbisibwe, who are FDC leaders in the area, said they deserve a change in leadership of the country because 35 years of NRM monopoly has left many gaps in the district.
“We appeal to the people of Kisoro to vote the FDC leadership into power for better national development. The fact that people in Kisoro voted out most incumbent MPs in the NRM primary elections shows that they are ready for change,” Mr Ahimbisibwe said.
Incumbent MPs Sam Bitangaro (Bufumbira South), Sam Byibesho (Kisoro Municipality and Rose Kabageni (District Woman) lost the NRM party elections in September.
Mr Amuriat was scheduled to campaign in Rubanda and conclude the day in Kabale. He arrived in Kigezi Sub-region on Saturday night after traversing various districts in Teso, Lango, Acholi, West-Nile and Bunyoro regions.
Mr Amuriat told Daily Monitor on Saturday night that following their meeting with officials from Buganda Kingdom on Friday, their programme was changed and that the Electoral Commission was notified.
He added that they were supposed to meet supporters in Kagandi, Kakumiro and Kibaale districts on Friday but since they had to meet Buganda officials, FDC postponed their programme in the three districts to a later date that would be communicated.
Mr Amuriat will today be in Kanungu and Rukungiri districts.
By Robert Muhereza, Leonard Mbishinzimana & Damali Mukhaye