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Bufumbira South MP arrested for holding campaign rally

Sam Bitangaro

Bufumbira,  Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | The Bufumbira South Member of Parliament Samuel Kwizera Bitangaro has been arrested for allegedly holding a political rally contrary to the Covid-19 preventive directives. 

Bitangaro was arrested from Nyarusiza Sub County on Friday evening by police under the command of Christopher Ruhunda, the Kisoro District Police Commander. 

Bitangaro who is seeking for a second term is facing competition from Engineer Alex Seruganda alias Supa Seru, an official in the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF)  in next week’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) party primaries. 

Police accuse Bitangaro of allegedly holding a rally at Kabindi Playground in Nyarusiza Sub County on Wednesday this week without observing the Covid-19 guidelines. 

URN reporter saw a video clip of Bitangaro holding a rally that was attended by more than 500 supporters. In a video clip, Bitangaro and his supporters were not wearing face masks and social distancing was not observed.  

Elly Maate, the Police Spokesperson for Kigezi region says that Bitangaro continued to defy and held similar rallies in Karambi, Mubande and Bushoka trading centres on Thursday. 

When he was summoned by police to make a statement, Bitangaro instead switched off his mobile phones. Maate adds that police traced him until Friday evening when he was arrested.

The case is registered at Kisoro police station under file number CRB: 511/2020. However, Bitangaro says that security is only harassing him to favour his opponents. Bitangaro questions why other contestants who are holding rallies have not been arrested. 

On Thursday, the Nakaseke South Member of Parliament Luttamaguzi Semakula and 22 other people were remanded to Kasangati Prison in Wakiso district for breach of COVID- 19 guidelines. 

Luttamaguzi was arrested at Wakasanke village along Matugga-Semuto road on his way to a planned public rally in Semuto town council on Wednesday. 

In June, the Electoral Commission banned open air campaign rallies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  All candidates will be expected to campaign through various forms of media.

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