Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Security personnel blocked the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC presidential candidate, Engineer Patrick Oboi Amuriat from entering Sembabule district to campaign.
Amuriat who is currently in the greater Masaka sub region was scheduled to campaign in Bukomansimbi, Sembabule and Masaka districts.
On Saturday, Amuriat with his team set off to campaign in Sembabule district but on reaching Lwebitakuli sub county, at the border between Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts, they were intercepted by Uganda Police Force and Uganda People Defense Forces (UPDF) personnel who blocked them from proceeding ahead.
The security personnel under the commandant of Dickens Bindeeba, the Sembabule District Police Commander mounted a strong roadblock comprised of anti-riot vehicles and tyre-spikes on the way and accordingly ordered Amuriat and his team to go back.
According to security, Amuriat was attempting to cause commotion in the town after rejecting to take the route police had planned to lead them to their campaign venue.
There ensued a bitter exchange between security, Amuriat and his team who argued that they planned for more than one campaign rally in the area, at least one in each of the four constituencies in the district where the party has candidates.
But Bindeeba insisted that they would not allow the FDC presidential candidate to go through the major towns to cause confusion.
Amid the standoff, hundreds of people started gathering and cheering Amuriat before he also took it as an opportunity to spontaneously address them at the roadblock, prompting police to respond by firing teargas to disperse the growing crowds.
Speaking to journalists after the scuffle, Amuriat decried the disruptions of their campaign schedules by security forces, actions which put their little resources to waste.
On the other hand, Amuriat indicated the FDC is not ready to heed the Electoral Commission’s decision to ban physical campaigns in major towns as a way of preventing the further spread of covid-19.
According to a statement issued on Saturday, the Electoral Commission suspended campaigns in districts and cities categorized by the Ministry of Health as having high spread of Covid-19. The districts listed were Mbarara, Kabarole, Luweero, Kasese, Masaka Wakiso, Jinja, Kalungi, Kazo, Kampala and Tororo.
However according to Amuriat, the FDC has perceived the decision as a plot to frustrate their campaign efforts in major towns, saying that they are going to call for joint opposition force to resist the instruction.