Police block Amuriat campaigns in 4 districts

FDC presidential candidate Patrick Amuriat (right) in a bitter exchange with a police officer during his campaign in Bunyangabu District yesterday. PHOTO | RACHEL MABALA

What you need to know:

  • Police forced him to go to Bundibugyo where he was not scheduled to campaign yesterday.
  • On Monday, Mr Amuriat was intercepted in Ntungamo on the way to Kabale District and diverted to Rukungiri.

Police yesterday chased FDC presidential candidate Patrick Amuriat out of all towns in four districts and ordered him never to return.
They only allowed him to use village routes to connect to the next district but blocked him from addressing people anywhere on the way.

Police forced him to go to Bundibugyo where he was not scheduled to campaign yesterday.
On Monday, Mr Amuriat was intercepted in Ntungamo on the way to Kabale District and diverted to Rukungiri.

Yesterday, on his way to Kasese District, he found police had blocked the Ishaka-Kasese road in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rubirizi District, shortly before Kazinga Channel. Police ordered him to enter their patrol pickup truck.
Mr Amuriat rejected the proposal and an argument ensued between his team and police. He and his team protested the mistreatment to no avail. The FDC candidate then pleaded with police to allow him to be driven in his own car in vain.

“Officer, our programme in Kasese has been cancelled, so we are proceeding to Ntoroko. Allow me drive in my car where I can control the driver. I am not secure in your car, so give me two of your police escorts to sit with me and we proceed,” Mr Amuriat pleaded but the police officers refused.
“I don’t trust your vehicle, you have done everything to me, you have beaten me and tortured me. The only thing you have not yet done is now killing me,” he charged.

The police lost patience and grabbed him and dragged him into their pickup truck.
A security officer dressed in civilian clothes kicked and injured one of Mr Amuriat’s official guards above the eye. The security officer had attempted to enter the same car with Mr Amuriat but the candidate’s security team pulled him out.
Mr Amuriat was then driven and dumped in Bunyangabu Town Council. However, the district police commander ordered him out of Bunyangabu.

“You are not supposed to be here, but in Ntoroko where you have a programme. I, therefore, order you out of Bunyangabu. Proceed where you are supposed to be. If you defy my orders, I will arrest you,” the DPC charged.
In Fort Portal, Mr Amuriat was also blocked from passing through the town.

Exchange with police
Police ordered him to go through community roads to rejoin the Fort Portal-Bundibugyo road. Police chased him non-stop up to Bundibugyo where he was not scheduled to campaign.
Rwenzori West Regional Police spokesperson Vincent Twesige defended the police decision to block Mr Amuriat from towns.

“We always give him the best alternatives and escort him to his venues where he is supposed to campaign. We have never blocked him from those areas except where he wants to go to places where he is not supposed to go to,” Mr Twesige said.
Amuriat has been blocked from more than half of the towns and district headquarters where he was scheduled to hold campaigns.

While in Rukungiri on Monday, Mr Amuriat asked the people to vote FDC and enjoy quality change of governance.
Addressing voters at Murumba playground in Southern Division, Rukungiri Municipality, on his second campaign visit to the district, Mr Amuriat asked them to only vote for FDC flag bearers and leave those who claim to be party members yet they are not.

Warning to independents
“There are some people in Rukungiri who think they are bigger than FDC but they should remember that without them, the party can still stand. FDC is like a taxi, as one gets out others enter. Don’t be deceived and confused by confused people who failed to accept defeat,” he said.

He did not mention any name but some FDC aspirants, who lost in the party primaries, refused to concede and are contesting as independents.
Before Rukungiri Municipality, he campaigned at Rwenshama Landing Site in Bwambara Sub-county, Rukungiri District, where he promised to stop the persistent kidnap of local fishermen by Congolese militia.

Last month, the Electoral Commission issued a list of districts and cities where campaigns were banned on account of increasing Covid-19 cases. However, a subsequent Daily Monitor story based on Covid-19 case records from the Ministry of Health showed that the Covid prevalence in nearly half of the districts where campaigns were banned did not support the claim of high infection cases as the reason for the ban.