Kisoro, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Police in Kisoro on Saturday fired live bullets and teargas to disperse angry supporters of Bufumbira South County Member of Parliament Samuel Kwizera Bitangaro.
Bitangaro who is currently being detained at Kisoro police station was arrested on Friday evening for allegedly holding a political rally contrary to the Covid-19 preventive directives. 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 party primaries.
It is alleged that Bitangaro conducted a rally of over 500 voters at Kabindi playground in Nyarusiza sub county on Wednesday without observing the Covid-19 guidelines. He also held similar rallies in Karambi, Mubande and Bushoka trading centres on Thursday.
On Saturday, his supporters from Bufumbira South County stormed Kisoro police station demanding for his release. They argued that his arrest was influenced by his opponents.
Moses Kwizera, one of the protestors condemned Bitangaro’s arrest saying that security is being used by opponents. Kwizera wonders why their candidate is arrested with a few days remaining for campaigns.
Festo Bizimana, another protestor accuses security officers of being selective while enforcing the Covid-19 guidelines. He wonders why security only arrested Bitangaro yet other aspirants across the district are campaigning without any interruption.
However, their protest was thwarted by heavily armed anti-riot police officers and Uganda People Defense Forces (UPDF) soldiers.
In the scuffle, Maria Mugisha, 30, was hit and injured by a stray rubber bullet on the face. She was rushed to Kisoro community clinic for treatment.
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.