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Bobi Wine consultations

People power strategy

Barnabas Tinkasiimire, the People Power coordinator for Bunyoro sub region told The Independent that Museveni has played right in their hands by arresting Bobi Wine and company.

“That’s part of the struggle, so he is falling in our trap,” he said.

He also spoke on the strategy for consultations in Bunyoro when Bobi Wine, the leader of People Power is arrested on the scheduled day. “In Bunyoro, we have already consulted and they gave us overwhelming support.”

Tinkasiimire, an MP representing Buyaga West on the NRM ticket was referring to a by- election last year where he says NRM “stole” the election.

People Power supporters have been saying their outfit is not a political party which gives them cross over support across different parties.

Gaffa Mbwatekamwa, People Power coordinator in Ankole region and MP for Kasambya County says he identifies with People Power although he will still contest on the NRM ticket in the next elections through which he was elected in 2016. In other words, being a People Power sympathiser gives him leeway to dabble with Bobi Wine who is running against NRM politically.

He says the arrests and blockades by police are not unexpected and his role is to “organise meetings and expect Bobi Wine.” On the nature of the consultations and the thin line between the meetings and campaign rallies, Mbwatekamwa says the strategy is masterminded by Bobi Wine.

Mbwatekamwa says the People Power strategy to beat the police blockade also includes using personal resources for the consultations.

“I have a hotel in Bushenyi which we will use,” he tells The Independent.

Barnabas Tinkasiimire and Gaffa Mbwatekamwa

Police misreads the law

Consultation exercises like the one Bobi is carrying out were dealt with by the NRM government with the passing of the Public Order Management Act in 2013. This new law would effectively thwart opposition gatherings.

It has been used to curtail the activities of Dr. Kizza Besigye, the opposition chief and was used against former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi when he initially went for his consultations across the country just a few months before the presidential campaign for the 2016 elections.

Section 5 of the POMA is what has always been problematic. It states that “an organiser of a meeting shall give notice in writing to the authorised officer of the intention to hold a public meeting at least three days before the proposed date of the public meeting”.

However on many occasions, leaders of opposition parties say they write notices to police but it does not respond. Sometimes police deny receiving the notice. Both appear deliberate ploys by police to frustrate the opposition.

Last year a meeting between government and the opposition held in April at the Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo meant to resolve the standoff over the law bore no fruit when both delegations dug in, in their respective positions.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, Ministers Gen. Elly Tumwine  (Security), Jeje Odongo (Internal Affairs), Mwesigwa Rukutana  (then Deputy Attorney General), Mary Karooro Okurut (General Duties) and Charles Engola (Minister of State for Defence).

Representing the NRM party was Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba. From opposition came Leader of Opposition (LoP) Betty Ochan who is from the FDC. FDC also had Secretary General Nandala Mafabi and his Deputy, Harold Kaija, and Salaamu Musumba, the vice president for eastern Uganda.

Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) had Secretary General Fred Ebil while Democratic Party (DP) Secretary General Gerald Blacks Siranda and Samuel Lubega attended on behalf of their party. The meeting was organised under the auspices of the Inter Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD).

At the time, Ochan said the police has made its own interpretation of the law. “The implementation has been the problem. The police turned the notice into permission. And even then when you want to notify them, they do not respond and then teargas follows after,” she said.

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