Jinja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Presidential candidates Mugisha Muntu and Norbert Mao have condemned the arrest of their National Unity Platform-NUP Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu and demanded his immediate release.
Kyagulanyi was arrested in Luuka district for flouting Covid-19 guidelines which require only 200 people at a campaign venue. He is currently in custody at Nalufenya police station in Jinja City.
Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) presidential candidate, Gen. Mugisha Muntu says that they condemn the act and that his party joins NUP and all fair-minded Ugandans in calling upon the immediate release of Kyagulanyi.
“The impunity with which security operatives are operating in the continued harassment and now arrest of Hon. Kyagulanyi is leading this country closer to a breaking point,” Muntu warned, adding, that, “If the regime can act in the manner in blatant disregard of the act being captured on TV, shows how desperate and reckless the regime is as of now. If a presidential candidate can be arrested in that manner, the population should ask themselves…what happens to people that are not at that elevation.”
Independent Presidential candidate Gen. Henry Tumukunde, says that the country is now at a turning point in history and that how authorities are operating shows disregard of the current state of affairs.
“We join other political leaders to unequivocally call for the immediate release of Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi,” said Tumukunde on his Twitter handle.
Norbert Mao, the Democratic Party (DP) presidential candidate issued a statement condemning the arrest of Kyagulanyi saying that all democracy seeking forces should cooperate in highlighting and combating police brutality.
“I have instructed the DP National Legal Advisor Counsel Luyimbazi Nalukoola to take legal steps to ensure that the NUP Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi who is in detention is released from custody immediately,” reads Mao’s statement in part.
Mao adds that he has equally asked his party lawyer to take legal steps against musician Moses Ssali aka Bebe Cool who he accuses of flouting Covid-19 guidelines with impunity through holding processions of ruling National Resistance Movement –NRM party supporters while police helplessly look on despite disrupting gatherings of opposition candidates under the pretext of enforcing Covid-19 rules.
“The private prosecution of Bebe Cool should send a message that rules have to apply equally to all citizens. The NRM presidential candidate is pretending to be adhering to the Covid rules but, in a double-faced way. In Gulu, these hooligans attacked the DP parliamentary candidate for Gulu City East, Simon Opoka, and destroyed the rear windscreen of his vehicle tyre cover that had Norbert Mao’s campaign picture,” further reads his statement.
Meanwhile, former presidential candidate under the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party ticket Dr Kizza Besigye also took to his official Twitter handle and demanded the immediate release of Kyagulanyi.
“Escalating brutality against some presidential candidates, while the Electoral Commission-EC looks on or, even encourages it, was bound to a disastrous situation,” says Besigye in part.
The four-time former presidential candidate now says that all presidential candidates should suspend their campaigns and meet to determine the way forward.
Kyagulanyi arrest has sparked off protests in different parts of Kampala where hundreds took to the streets demanding for his release. These lit tyres in the middle of roads around Kisekka Market, Nabugabo Lane, Nasser Road, Nkrumah, City Square, Bombo Road and Kampala Road.
The act prompted the regular police backed by anti-riot police, Military and Local Defence Units- LDUs to fire teargas and live bullets to disperse the protesters.