The Independent (Kampala)

9 February 2013

Uganda: Govt Beefs Security in Butaleja

Two days away from the voting date in the Butaleja MP by-elections slated for Monday February 11, government has massively deployed security forces in the district to keep law and order as people go to vote.

One of the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) Maj Nathan Bainomugisha told The Independent that, "We are not to watch things go wrong that is why police is being deployed here."

He added that, "For the case of the military, if we are requested in a formal way to help our sister security agency then we shall come but at the moment, there is no need."

Major Bainomugisha made these remarks at Butaleja Town Council where he was in the company of the Third Division Commander Brigadier Peter Elwelu and the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) for Butaleja Capt Martha Asimmwe.

President Museveni is expected to have a courtesy visit to Butaleja and rally support for his party's candidate Florence Nebanda on Saturday.

However, the presence of the security in Butaleja is highly competing for visibility as many trucks carrying police officers have been earthed in the district headquarters and in other surrounding areas.

One of the residents in Busolwe told The Independent that this could be a ploy to scare the opposition and their supporters from campaigning for their party candidates in the district.

He says he cited the leader of Opposition Nathan Nandala Mafabi and Wafula Oguttu in Busolwe in the convoy of their candidate Felistus Namwihiri.

Transport fares from Tororo to Butaleja and Mbale to Butaleja have tremendously gone up following the massive number of people going to Butaleja. One of the boda boda cyclist said, "On Friday morning some NRM leaders went and cashed the cyclists with at least Shs5,000 and a T-shirt so that they offer support in carrying pro NRM supporters."

Similar scenario happened in Katakwi at the time when the people in Katakwi went to polls that saw the youngest MP possibly in the world, Proscovia Alengot Oromait elected, NRM bought off the cyclists so that nobody in opposition got transport this act made the opposition supporters unable to move to other destinations to monitor the exercise. An attempt to talk to the Butaleja District Police Commander (DPC), Fred Kidima proved futile as he was out office for a security meeting in Mbale since morning.

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