Busoga has become the latest sub-region to give a headache to campaign teams popularising President Museveni’s 2016 sole candidature project ahead of the ruling party’s December 15 delegates’ conference at Mandela stadium, Namboole.
Days after fiery exchanges between pro-and anti-Museveni factions in Kamuli and Jinja district, Kaliro district became the latest battleground. On Sunday, November 23, business came to a standstill in Kaliro when a group of NRM supporters engaged police in running battles.
Gathered in Kaliro town, the rowdy group under their umbrella, Poor Youth Forum, had collected a heap of yellow items and tyres, which they were burning in the town centre in an attempt to block an NRM consultative meeting. Mobilisers of the group say they wanted to show support for the former prime minister, Amama Mbabazi, whom they say the ongoing NRM consultative meetings intend to victimise.
Officials of the party are meeting their party delegates at the district level to persuade them endorse the proposal of giving the party national chairman powers to solely appoint a secretary general to replace Mbabazi who was sent on forced leave.
Aware that the meeting would begin at 10am, the group took positions in Kaliro town by 9am and blocked the Kaliro-Iganga highway, which they knew the NRM officials from the secretariat would use to reach the meeting venue. The team of legislators that was on their way to Kaliro included Peter Ogwang (eastern youth), Milton Muwuma (Kigulu South) and the NRM vice chairman for eastern region, Mike Mukula.
As the team approached, the protesters were ordered to disperse but they refused, forcing police to tear-gas them and shoot in the air. Four suspected ringleaders were arrested and detained for a night at CPS Kaliro, before being releasing on bond.
Later, during the NRM meeting, which was held under tight security, some members accused the president of robbing Bulamogi, the Kaliro-based chiefdom where Prince Edward Columbus Wambuzi hails from, of the Kyabazinga throne.
Wambuzi and Gabula Nadiope of Bugabula chiefdom were rival princes for Kyambazingaship during a six year impasse until September when local chiefs elected the latter. Wambuzi’s camp believes Gabula’s election was influenced by the central government.
The Observer learnt that a night before the consultative meeting, a pro-Mbabazi team of four had moved all over the district, meeting party delegates to ask them oppose the proposal. This team was led by the Mbabazi camp spokesman Thomas
Kategere. Others included Kaliro town council NRM veterans league chairman Godfrey Kapere, Paul Kalikwani, the district youth NRM chairperson, and Godfrey Muzaale, a g NRM supporter and teacher at Bright Future SS – Kaliro.
Both Kategere and Kapere admitted to The Observer in an interview on Tuesday that they held night meetings at Namusinsi primary school and in Nawaikoke trading centre in the home of one of Mbabazi’s g supporters in the district.
“We wanted to equip them with what to tell the Lumumba team because we are lovers of democracy and we could not just look on,” said Kapere, adding that they had been made aware of the plot by the party secretariat to lure their delegates with huge sums of money to endorse the proposal.
On Monday, Kategere held similar meetings in Mukono district where he dissuaded NRM delegates from Mukono and Buvuma against endorsing the proposal.
“It is true I had meetings with our (NRM) delegates in Kaliro on the eve of the consultative meeting to give them courage not to have fear or favour. The party belongs to all of us but not only to Lumumba and her team,” said Kategere.
Contacted for a comment on Tuesday, Lumumba declined to speak to The Observer.
“Go ahead and write whatever you want,” she said.
Source : The Observer