NUP insists on Bobi welcome march despite police warning

Bobi Wine atop a vehicle acknowledges his supporters during his mobilisation tour in Luweero District last month. PHOTO/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

What you need to know:

  • Bobi Wine is expected to arrive at Entebbe at 10am and then march to Kampala City in a procession dubbed ‘One million march.’

As the National Unity Platform (NUP) leaders urged their supporters to turn up in large numbers to welcome their leader, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, back in the country today, the police vowed to stop any such assembly.

Bobi Wine is expected to arrive at Entebbe International Airport at 10am and then march to Kampala City in a procession dubbed ‘One million march.’ He has been on a tour in Canada and South Africa.
At the same time, President Museveni is expected to be at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds for celebrations to mark the National Teachers’ Day.
Security agencies yesterday met several groups, especially those in the transport and informal sectors, to avoid joining the procession about the return of Bobi Wine.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the procession to welcome Mr Kyagulanyi is illegal and would likely disrupt traffic flow as well as attract acts of criminality.
“The organisers of this welcome back event are advised to stop the mobilisation and members of the public are also advised not to participate in an illegality. Security agencies will make sure that no one engages in illegal possession and whoever will be arrested will be taken to courts of law,” Mr Onyango said yesterday.

The return of politicians at Entebbe International Airport has often been chaotic. In May 2011 during the swearing-in of President Museveni, there were running battles between supporters of Dr Kizza Besigye, who had lost a presidential election, as his supporters welcomed him from Nairobi, Kenya, where he had gone for treatment.

Several African presidents and dignitaries, who were being chauffeured to State House in Entebbe for the state dinner, were caught up in the crowds of teargas and bullets on Entebbe Road as supporters of Dr Besigye pushed to breach the police barriers to enter the city centre.
The police yesterday arrested NUP supporters who were preparing for the welcome march at Abayita Ababiri on Entebbe Road. A hunt of several other NUP leaders is ongoing.

Mr Onyango promised that security agencies will deploy heavily today to ensure that no procession is held.
“We want to inform the people on Entebbe highway that please go ahead with your businesses, do not be afraid, operate as normal we shall deploy our officers. You will see the deployment there,” he said.
However, the NUP deputy spokesperson, Mr Waiswa Mufumbiro, said the police demands aren’t backed by the law, saying anyone has a right to welcome and escort their beloved ones from the airport to any destination of their choice.

“Welcoming our (NUP) president is an initiative of the people and as party leaders we are in total support of the arrangements because they are entirely legal,” Mr Mufumbiro said in a telephone interview.
“People are going to be organised, just like it was during our nationwide tours, let police be ready to provide security to the people. But as a party, we are continuing with all the arrangements and we call upon all our supporters to turn up in big numbers,” he added.

Last month, the police halted all NUP mobilisation activities countrywide on grounds that the party leaders, including Bobi Wine, want to illegally remove the National Resistance Movement from power. But Bobi Wine said he would continue with the tours when he returns to Uganda.