Former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has attended a Luweero Church function despite an order from the Luwero District National Resistance Movement (NRM) party district leader Abdul Nadduli, to cancel his invitation to preside over the fundraising gathering.
There was tight security in Wobulenzi town with hundreds of police officers deployed around St. Paul Church of Uganda.
Police officers commanded by Officer in Charge of Luweero Police station Eugene Elwaru camped at the church from Saturday night. More officers were deployed on Sunday.
After Nadduli’s request, a section of organizers led by Reverend Simon Kyazze reportedly tried to cancel Mbabazi’s invitation. The decision was however rejected by other members led by Lay Leader John Nsubuga .
At midday, Amama Mbabazi arrived at St.Paul Church amidst tight security and received loud cheers from Christians that were eager to see him.
In his speech,Mbabazi said that he had not come to campaign.He called for respect of human rights, reconciliation and tolerance . The former Premier gave the church 31 million shillings, of which, he donated 11 million shillings and President Yoweri Museveni 20 million shillings.
He added that there was nobody who could stop him from attending the Church fundraising and will continue doing so because he had a debt to pay to Church for what he is now.
There were murmurs of confusion as Nadduli who spoke before Mbabazi had claimed that President Museveni had sent him as his representative with 10 million shillings donation. Nadduli is the Luweero LC 5 Chairman and NRM Central Region Chairman.
Reverend John Kizza who represented Luweero Diocese Bishop Evans Kisekka said that earlier on he had declined to attend the fundraising over fears that police could fire teargas at them for hosting Mbabazi. However, with God’s courage, he decided to turn up.
The Lay Leader John Nsubuga and Joyce Mazzi an organizer of the function said that there were several attempts and threats to stop them from hosting Mbabazi but they stuck to their choice.They also claimed that several Christians shunned the fundraising over fears that the function may turn chaotic as section of NRM supporters protested his presence in the district.
Luweero Woman Member of Parliament Brenda Nabukenya said that the deployment and panic was uncalled for because Mbabazi has equal rights like any person to visit Church and contribute.
The Officer in charge of the deployment Eugene Elwaru declined to comment and Justus Asiimwe the District Police Commander was unavailable for comment. Nadduli refused to speak to the press after the function.
The fundraising fetched 45 million shillings in cash.
Luweero is significant in the history of the NRM government as one of the bases that gave them strongest support while insurgents as the National Resistance Army (NRA) during the five year bush war (1981-1986).