Police barricade Amuriat in Fort Portal hotel

This photo taken on January 6, 2021 shows police guarding a closed gate of Jopalz Hotel in Fort Portal City where FDC presidential candidate Patrick Amuriat spent a night. Amuriat and his team were barred from leaving the hotel while the hotel staff were blocked from accessing it. PHOTO/ RACHEL MABALA

Police and other security agencies in Fort Portal City in western Uganda have surrounded Jopalz hotel where Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate slept. Mr Amuriat who was yesterday driven out of four districts spent the night at Jopalz Hotel outside the city, from where he was supposed to proceed to Kitagwenda and other districts for his final campaign leg in the region.

However, as soon as he entered the hotel, police and the army surrounded it, barring those who were in from getting out and no one was also allowed to enter the premises. In the morning, the hotel staff who had reported for duty were denied access to their workplace. More than 100 security forces have been deployed to bar Amuriat from leaving the premises.

Mr Edison Tinkansimire, the manager of the hotel said he was suprrised to see his premises cordoned off.

He said the barricade has affected their schedule because they start work at 6:00am, but by 8:30am, they had not been allowed access to the hotel premises.

“You can see we are all stranded at the gate here and nowhere to go. We came here before 6:00am, but up to now we are still here. We cannot prepare breakfast for our guests who slept here and I am not sure when they will allow us in,” he said.

Mr Joseph Ajuna Daka, the FDC candidate for Fort Portal City Central Division MP seat decried the police action and said it was inhumane for the security forces to lock up someone who just spent a night in the city and is proceeding elsewhere.

“We spent the night here and now we are very hungry. We want someone to go and get us something to eat, but the police is not allowing anyone to help us. I don’t know whether this is an arrest or not and we have asked them, but all they tell us is they are waiting for orders from above. Where is that above where a presidential candidate who is on campaign trail is just arrested without any reason and ordered to stay in his hotel, yet he is supposed to be away,” Ajuna said.

Amuriat has faced a number of hurdles since he started campaigning, with police blocking him from accessing most of his campaign venues. He has been teargassed in almost all the districts he has been to acros the country.