Uganda: Gen Muntu's Party 'Surprised' By Mbarara Police Blockade

The leadership of Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) is "surprised" that police on Friday foiled their party meeting in Mbarara.

Although blocking of opposition political parties is a normal practice, the ANT leadership says they were "surprised" by the police's actions because they followed the law to the latter by informing the police of their intended activities. Anti-riot police stormed Uncle Speed Gardens along Kakooba in Mbarara municipality where the meeting was scheduled to take place and ordered all participants to vacate immediately.

The meeting had attracted ANT members from Ankole and Kigezi sub-regions. Daniel Bukare, the ANT Youth League National spokesperson, says they were surprised by police decision to block their meeting even after clearing them. He says the top party youth leadership had traveled all the way from Kampala for the meeting only to be frustrated by the unlawful police orders.

Bukara says one of the officers told them that they had received orders from their superiors to block the meeting.

"This is political in nature because we have seen this happening with other political parties but we thought maybe with our method of work [and] because we have engaged the police before, we wrote to police using our leaders we have here... and they were cleared. But surprisingly, these people [police] turned up and they had to disperse everybody and they are saying these were orders from above, we cannot have a political meeting. If we cannot meet and discuss matters of national concern, where is our future as Uganda because as youth this country belongs to us. If we don't meet and dialogue and see problems that are cutting across in western Uganda, northern Uganda and we see how we are in position to build this conscience between us and how we can solve them"

Daniel Kafureka, the ANT coordinator for Ankole sub region, says he personally cleared with police and doesn't know why their meeting was stopped. Rwizi Region police spokesperson, Samson Kasasira said without specifying that the meeting was called off because the organisers failed to meet all the requirements.

Former Forum for Democratic Party (FDC) party president Gen Mugisha Muntu quit FDC to go and found ANT after a clash of ideologies on how to wrestle power from President Yoweri Museveni's party, NRM. While FDC argued that you cannot build structures and practice normal political party politics under the current environment, Muntu and his ANT party argue that focusing solely on removing Museveni from power will create a power vacuum if structures are not built first.

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