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Police foils people power meeting in Masaka

Some of the People Power members that showed up for a meeting that was shortly disparsed by Police in Masaka

Masaka, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Police on Thursday foiled a meeting by the People Power pressure group in Masaka district.

The Democratic Party-DP revival faction led by their Masaka district chairperson also Bukoto East Member of Parliament Florence Namayanja had on Thursday invited their supporters for a town hall meeting in Kyannamukaka Sub County. The meeting was meant to kick start the process of identifying candidates for the various leadership positions in the next general elections.    

Namayanja invited People Power’s Deputy Head of Election Management Committee Samuel Lubega Mukaaku and other coordinators. However, hardly had the meeting started than police stormed the venue and ordered them to proceed with their plans.   

A section of anti-riot Police personnel commanded by Frank Tuhaawe, the Officer in- charge of Kyannamukaka police station stormed the venue and ordered the politicians to leave.

Tuhaawe argued that besides not having police clearance to hold a political meeting, the conveners had also flouted the COVID-19 guidelines that banned public gatherings.

Police overpowered the politicians and confiscated the public address system and chairs before the meeting aborted prematurely. 

Namayanja accused police of making a biased decision against all activities and plans of opposition political groups, yet their National Residents Movement- NRM party counterparts are successfully conducting similar meetings in the area. 

Despite her pleading with Tuhaawe to allow them to address the meeting in compliance with the COVID-19 safety guidelines, all her efforts went in vain. 

She, however, noted that they will not backtrack on their plans, saying that they are racing against the Electoral Commissions road-map that requires them to present intending candidates before August.  

Francis Kimuli, the Buwunga sub-county chairperson and Democratic Party Organizing Secretary for Masaka district vows that they will insist on holding meetings despite the threats by security.   

He says that they will mobilize their supporters to resist any form of political suppression ahead of the 2021 general elections.   

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission advised the different political actors to utilize adopt electronic mobilization platform to reach out to the public as an alternative to traditional mass rallies that pose higher risks of spreading the Covid-19.  

However, many political actors both in opposition and the ruling National Resistance Movement NRM are yet to heed to the instructions, citing practicality concerns.



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