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Minister condemns security organs for mistreating opposition

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A day after Uganda Police apologized for teargassing senior Buganda Kingdom and Catholic church personalities in Mityana over the weekend, a senior official of the ruling National Resistance Movement who is also a government minister has vehemently condemned acts of the security forces against the political opposition.

“Today we are in power but tomorrow when we are not, would we like to be treated the same way we are now treating the opposition?” Tourism minister Godfrey Ssuubi Kiwanda, who is also the ruling NRM party vice chairman responsible for Buganda summed up his condemnation of actions of the security forces against the opposition political parties.

Kiwanda said that the actions against the opposition not only hurt the ruling party’s image but also hurt the tourism sector which is supposed to be Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner. Speaking to reporters at the offices of the Uganda Journalist Association [UJA] in Kawempe, Kiwanda said every time police violently breaks up opposition political activities, the NRM party is tasked to explain these actions.

The minister disclosed that unlike the popular view that his party condones such actions, on the contrary, they too also actually detest the harassment of the opposition.

Kiwanda’s comments come on the heels of police’s apology yesterday for teargassing members of the Catholic Church and the Mbogo clan who had gone to Mugulu in Mityana district to celebrate the achievement of the clan head Kayiira Gajuule Fredrick Kasibante for his service to the Kabaka. The teargassing according to the public admission by police arose from their intention to stop Mityana municipality MP Francis Zaake, his Busujju county counterpart David Kalwanga and Kyadondo East MP also National Unity Platform presidential flag bearer Robert Kyagulanyi from attending the function.

Before the Saturday incident, police together with the army had raided the offices of NUP taking with them several items including according to party officials, signatures that were supporting Kyagulanyi’s candidature.

“These things don’t look good for our country. As the minister of tourism, these actions are also part of another scare to my tourists. As we go for open politics, we must behave responsibly as participants and even security officers if we are to have clean politics and also keep our country peaceful,” Kiwanda said. “I urge the police that next time they are doing their work, they should do it in the most professional way so as not to take us into unnecessary litigation and explanations which at times turn political.”

Kiwanda informed the security forces that the NRM is capable of defeating opposition parties in elections like it always has and dismissed the top Buganda opposition MPs as as being of little threat because they are just looking for political survival. He singled out three Baganda MPs who jumped from DP to Kizza Besigye’s camp then to Amama Mbabazi and are now flirting with Bobi Wine saying that by 2026, they will yet get another presidential candidate to praise. Kiwanda said that for Buganda where he is leading the search for Museveni’s votes, Bobi Wine’s People Power or NUP will be defeated.

However speaking to the media today, NUP vice president Mathias Mpuuga said that they are not bothered by those who write them off. He said if indeed they are inconsequential like government people wants the public to believe, then they should allow them space to operate without interference.

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