Police in Mbale and Sironko spent the better part of Sunday in running battles with supporters of National Unity Presidential candidate, Robert Ssentuma Kyagulanyi alias Bobi wine. Kyagulangyi, who is campaigning in Bugisu region was in Sironko and Mbale districts, but failed to address his planned rallies as police used teargas and live bullets to disperse hundreds of people who turned for the gatherings.
In Sironko, Kyagulanyi was expected to address his supporters at Nakiwondye Primary School ground in Budadiri town council but Police blocked his team from using the venue. They instead advised his team to relocate the rally to Mafudu Primary School in Mafudu sub-county, which is over 10 kilometers from Sironko town. Kyagulanyi declined to go to the new venue.
From Kumi, he used the Namgumba-Buwalasi road to enter Sironko but was stopped by Police at Buweri Bridge in Buyobo sub-county. Tear gas and live bullets rocked Buyobo trading center as Police under the command of Sironko District Police Commander, Edison Muhanji battled Kyagulanyi and his supporters and forced him out of Sironko before addressing any rally.
There were running battles along the road from Sironko to Mbale as police engaged people who lined up the road to cheer on Kyagulanyi and escort him to Mbale town. On his entry to Mbale, Kyagulanyi was welcomed by heavily armed Police and UPDF officers backed with several armoured vehicles.
Thousands of People had lined up along Kumi-Soroti road in Mbale to receive Kyagulanyi who had scheduled a campaign rally in Mbale City Stadium. The supporters who were dancing to Kyagulanyi’s freedom song and chanting the ‘People Power’ slogans engaged in running battles with Police from the time the presidential candidate entered the town until he left.
Police staged roadblocks on all major roads leading to the town and attempted to lead the presidential candidate through Nabuyonga raise to Mbale Stadium. However, Kyagulanyi beat the tight security and entered the central business district through a short cut at Joy Hospice hospital on Nabuyonga rise.
It took Kyagulanyi close to two hours to get to Mbale Stadium where thousands of his supporters were waiting for him after Police intercepted him around Housing Finance Bank on Republic street, which turned into a battleground between Police and NUP Supporters. The youthful supporters started picking the teargas canisters and throwing them to the police officers.
At around 5:45 PM, Kyagulanyi’s bodyguards whisked him away to Mbale Stadium for the campaign rally but it was cut short by police, which said it was past campaigning time. Fred Ahimbisibwe, the Mbale District Police Commander, had earlier told journalists that they wouldn’t allow any procession in town.
Edison Muhanji, the Sironko District Police Commander said that they blocked Kyagulanyi’s rally because it had been scheduled to take place at a health facility, which they couldn’t allow. URN