In a move that will perhaps surprise no one accustomed to the country's political dynamics, Uganda Police Force has suspended the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party countrywide mobilisation tours.
In a strongly-worded and angry statement issued by the deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Katsigazi Tumusiime on behalf of IGP, Martins Okoth Ochola, police claims, that NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi has breached guidelines that were earlier agreed upon ahead of the tours about 2 weeks ago.
"We are sending this strong message, that our country, Uganda, will not wait for its villages, towns, urban centres and cities to burn, before taking action to protect its citizens and property. We are going to put an end to the mob mentality, bullying and intimidation tactics of NUP radicals, against innocent civilians and law enforcers," said Katsigazi in a statement written in different fonts and sizes.
According to police, the mobilization activities especially in Kasana-Luweero district were "used to incite violence, promote sectarianism, make illegitimate calls for the removal of an elected, and issuance of defamatory statements against the person of HE The President of the Republic of Uganda."
While in Luweero, Kyagulanyi challenged the locals to take responsibility and unseat President Museveni's government after all they were responsible for bringing the NRA/M to power which he accused of impoverishing Ugandans in the last 40 years. Museveni began his protracted 5-year bush war in Luweero before assuming power in 1986.
Kyagulanyi also questioned the alleged tribalism and nepotism being practiced by the NRM government against the general populace. He also said he had received intelligence that the state was out to assassinate him, but called on the people to avenge his death if it were to happen.
Kyagulanyi began his tours in Mbarara in western Uganda where mammoth crowds gathered to listen to him. He then moved to eastern and northern Uganda where even more crowds gathered and brought business to a standstill.
Except for the occasional blockade by security from accessing community and local radio stations, the tours have been generally free of any violence or chaos but the growing crowds have apparently rubbed the ruling government the wrong way. Many NRM supporters called on government to put a stop to the tours. Amidst the recent bomb scare, the army warned that Kyagulanyi's rallies were susceptible to terror attacks.
"While we completely support the right of individuals, groups and other citizens to peacefully gather or assemble, and make their views on matters of public policy, we have noticed that, in all areas where the NUP mobilization activities have been carried out, there have been total breaches to the guidelines, thus causing public disorder, unnecessary traffic jams, loss of business, malicious damage to property, for instance in Mbarara city, their rowdy supporters vandalised a Toyota Hiance, under reg. no. UBD 251J and traffic accidents, including a fatal one in Hoima City on the 11.09.2023, where a one Mugisa Norman died and 10 others got serious injuries during the NUP convoy," said the police.
President Museveni's son, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba who has also expressed intention to stand for presidency in 2026 also carried out mobilisation tours across the country where with the help of police, several roads were closed off to allow his supporters to showcase their support.