Lukwago held, Besigye home sealed off

Kampala. Police were last evening still holding Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago after barring him from attending a rally organised by opposition politicians.Mr Lukwago was arrested as he left his Wakaliga home to attend a consultative rally at Katwe, a city suburb, and whisked off to Jinja Road Police Station.

Mr Lukwago, who was in the back seat of a car chauffeured by his deputy Suleiman Kidandala, was compelled to move out by police officers led by Mr Sam Omalla, the Kampala North operations commander, before being bundled in a white police double cabin truck.

Mr Lukwago had earlier addressed the media and questioned why the police cordoned off his home if they had problems with the venue or the rally he was to attend.“If police have a problem with the rally, why do they block my home and disturb my children and neighbours?” Mr Lukwago said.

He wondered why the police were stopping a civic gathering organised by an area MP, which he said was meant to enlighten the people of Kampala about the challenges the city is facing.Mr Lukwago’s lawyer, Mr Medard Sseggona, said he wouldn’t follow up on his client if police decided to move him from one station to another as has been the case in the past. Mr Sseggona, who is also the Busiro East MP, hinted that he expected the police to return the Lord Mayor where he was picked from.

“The man was picked from his home. I have no time to waste whenever mad men go on rampage and pick up a bonafide citizen,” Mr Sseggona said.The Force, which kept vigil at the rally venue, also blocked all politicians and activists who had planned to attend the rally, including former FDC leader Kizza Besigye and Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante, the convener.Dr Besigye’s home in Kasangati, Wakiso District was sealed off, with the police barricading the road and stopping cars heading there.

The vehicle carrying Ms Winnie Byanyima, Dr Besigye’s wife, was stopped and searched. Ms Byanyima, who is the executive director Oxfam International, said she was heading to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to renew her passport. Police let her go after it did not find Dr Besigye among the occupants.She threatened to sue the police and the government if they continued camping at her home. “This government doesn’t care about breaking the law, I am thinking of taking them to court if they don’t stop disturbing my farm,” she said.

Dr Besigye asked whether Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s comments that Ugandans should not be arrested because of their personal opinions only applied to his supporters and not all Ugandans facing harassment from police. “I want to know whether the Prime Minister is interested in the rights of his supporters or even those of other Ugandans. I want Mr Mbabazi’s government to tell me whether I can move freely in Uganda,” he said.

THE BACKGROUNDOn Tueday, the police vowed to block the opposition rally where opposition politicians planned to urge supporters to boycott the upcoming mayoral elections. The Force said the politicians did not follow the procedures as set down by the Public Order Management Act.


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