Police are holding Bishop Zac Niringeye and Jack Wamai Wamanga, the Mbale Municipality member of parliament following a botched opposition consultative meeting on electoral reforms in Mbale.
The duo was picked up Saturday afternoon at Lions children’s park along Pallisa road in Mbale town.
It came after Bishop Niringeye, Wamai and General Mugisha Muntu, the FDC president opposed directives by Jacob Oploto, the Elgon Zone regional Police Commander to call off a public rally at Mbale children’s park.
It all started after police blocked a consultative meeting on electoral reforms organized by opposition politicians at Mbale sports club leading to violent clashes. In attempt to restore calm, police agreed with the opposition leaders to hold a rally at Mbale SS grounds on condition that Dr Kiiza Besigye, the former FDC president leaves the town. Police escorted Besigye to Kamonkoli along the Mbale-Budaka border as Bishop Zac Niringeye, General Mugisha Muntu and Jack Wamai Wamanga went ahead to mobilize for the rally.
Shortly after seeing off Besigye, a team of police officers led by Opolot made a u turn and stormed Lion’s children’s park saying they had received orders from above not to allow any meeting. This didn’t go down well with the leaders, who said they had received authorization from Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police to go on with their meeting. Opolot swung into action with Shaban Kacemete, the Mbale RDC and DPC Gerald Tusiime and picked up Wamai and Bishop Niringeye. They whisked them off to Mbale Central Police Station.
The arrest of the duo brings to three the number of people arrested in connection to the botch opposition consultative meeting. Police had earlier in the day picked up Paul Butita, the Bubulo West Democratic Party MPcandidate over the same meeting. Orach Osinde, the head of UPC Human rights secretariat and Coordinator Uganda Free Election Eastern region Uganda is demanding the unconditional release of all the suspects. He insists that they received clearance from the internal affairs ministry for the meetings.
Osinde said they had had successful meetings in Mbarara, Masaka, Jinja and Tororo and wondered why they were being harassed in Mbale. He said the conduct of security officials in Mbale is a deliberate attempt to deprive citizens of their freedom of speech, movement and assembly, which are guaranteed in the constitution. He says this puts the state against voluntary risk at a time when Uganda is desperate of bad governance, the consequence of which citizens shall not be held liable.
He warned that should police continue holding the trio, they will continue with running battles. Opolot insists that he received express directives from above not to allow any meeting.
Adapted From URN