With the political heat in Sembabule almost reaching fever pitch, the Resident District Commissioner, Kamara Bayeye, has banned open electoral campaigns.
The order followed statements made by MP Anifa Kawooya, during a meeting she attended with Bayeye in Ntete village in Lwebitakuli sub-county, last week. Kawooya is said to have stormed the meeting called by Bayeye to resolve a land wrangle and instead attacked her rival former State House aide Joy Kafura Kabatsi.
"She found me trying to solve a conflict over land, and asked for an opportunity to greet the people, but she went overboard and threatened to fight Kabatsi if she did not stop her campaigns," Bayeye told The Observer.
Careful to avoid unnecessary and premature political fights, Bayeye ordered a stop to open rallies by either party.
"Everyone knows how volatile Sembabule gets because of politics, we shall not sit and watch as the district plunges into chaos," Bayeye said.
But Kawooya is adamant that she was in Ntete to resolve a land wrangle that affects about 600 families.
"There is no law that can stop me from meeting my people. I'm mandated as the MP to carry out constituency work, it is my constitutional right, and there is no way the RDC can stop me," Kawooya said.
The MP also denied making threats to Kabatsi, explaining that she instead asked the RDC to caution the former State House aide.
"She has declared that she's there to fight me, that is why wherever she goes, she insults me, she abuses me and Hon [Sam] Kutesa, which is against the Constitution ... I can't sit back and leave her to go on like this," Kawooya said.
Disregarding Bayeye's warning, Kawooya announced that she would dedicate at least three days every week in the district, to attend to several issues, including the widespread cases of land grabbing. On her part, Kabatsi accused Bayeye of being partisan, working in Kawooya's interests.
"There's no way we can keep quiet when some wrongs are going on in the district," Kabatsi said.
She denied holding rallies in Sembabule, arguing that her activities are limited to churches. However, Bayeye says Kabatsi has also previously held campaign rallies in Mateete without the knowledge of the district security committee or the Electoral Commission.