Police detain Amuriat four days to election

Police officials arrest FDC presidential candidate Patrick Amuriat in Mpigi, January 09. PHOTO/COURTESY. 

What you need to know:

  • The criminal charges to be slapped on Amuriat  remain unclear.

Police in Mpigi District on Sunday arrested Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party presidential candidate Patrick Amuriat and detained him, less than four days to the election.

Mr Amuriat was intercepted in Mpigi Town, pushed onto a police pickup truck and driven to Mpigi Central Police Station. One of the police officers sat on Mr Amuriat in the pickup truck up to the police station where he was dumped.

Before, police had blocked the road leading to Mpigi Town. However, Mr Amuriat’s driver drove through the bushes and emerged after the barricade checkpoint, drawing cheers from onlookers. Mr Amuriat proceeded straight to the town where he was arrested.

At the police station, the district police commander only identified as Nantamba, who commanded the operation, refused to take Mr Amuriat to his office, but instead took him to the traffic office. Officials in the traffic office declined to detain the presidential candidate, saying he had not committed a traffic offence.

“This man has not committed any traffic offence and he should not be brought here. We have clients we are attending to and where do you expect us to handle these clients from?” Katonga regional traffic officer Sadress Kabugho was heard telling the district police commander.

However, Ms Kabugho and her team were overruled by Nantamba, and were ordered out of office. One traffic officer was later on called to record traffic offences against Mr Amuriat. Military Police also sealed off the police station and ordered FDC supporters away. 

Supporters had surrounded the station, chanting Mr Amuriat’s name. Soldiers from a nearby detach had been called to disperse the crowds. An offence of riding on top of a vehicle contrary to the Road Safety and Traffic Act was registered against Mr Amuriat.

Ms Kabugho confirmed the charges and said Mr Amuriat will be presented in court.

“Our officers together with Uganda Police Force arrested him and we are charging him with the offence of being driven on top of a motor vehicle contrary to the Road Safety Act. He will be presented to court,” she said. Three days ago, Mr Amuriat and his driver were arrested in Kibaale District and produced at Kakumiro Magistrate’s Court on charges of careless and inconsiderate driving and being driven on the roof of a motor vehicle.

Since his nomination, Mr Amuriat has been arrested nine times and charged twice in courts with offences related to road safety and traffic.

Mr Amuriat told police officers yesterday that no amount of intimidation would deter him from pursuing his agenda to remove President Museveni, who has been in power for 34 years.

There was a struggle between Mr Amuriat and police officers as they pushed him into the cells. He was finally pushed inside as supporters outside cheered his name.

By press time, Mr Amuriat was still in detention at Mpigi Police Station.

The FDC presidential candidate had been scheduled to campaign in Mpigi, Gomba and Butambala districts yesterday. His next campaign destination is Lira and Kole, before winding up his trail in Serere and Ngora in his home region.