Uganda: Police Blocks FDC Anniversary Celebrations in Mbale

20 January 2020

Police in Mbale District have blocked an attempt by Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party leaders to hold a public rally at Mpumudde grounds in Namakwekwe ward, Mbale Municipality.

The public rally was an attempt to celebrate the party's 15th anniversary. FDC marked 15 years in existence on December 16, last year.

Mr Hassan Birigwa, the FDC National Chairperson, Ms Margaret Wokuri, the FDC Mbale chairperson, Mr Jack Wamanga Wamai, Mbale Municipality MP, and other leaders were meant to address their supporters at the rally.

However Ms and another unidentified person were arrested and taken to Mbale Central Police station.

Elgon police spokesperson Mr Robert Tukei, says, the celebrations were blocked because the Inspector General of Police has not granted them permission to hold the rally.

"They wrote to the IGP attaching a letter from Deputy General Secretary notifying us that they were to have a meeting today in Mpummude grounds, the IGP has not written back to them to give them security and guidelines on how to go with the event," he says.

"There was also controversy over the venue, the Deputy Assistant Town Clerk of Northern Division had okayed it but on Saturday the Town clerk of Mbale Municipality wrote nullifying the offer, we couldn't not allow FDC to hold a meeting today," he says.

Mr Tukei noted that he had informed FDC officials to follow up the case with the IGP before they are allowed to hold any rally at the grounds.

However, Mr. Hassan Birigwa, the FDC National chairperson says they have followed all the laws, but wonders why the opposition are being limited to mobilize.

"We are following the law, we wrote to police, we have not broken any law, and we urge our people to stay strong because the junta will have to eventually leave."

He wonders why the law is being applied selectively.

"It's very unfortunate that this is happening because Mr. Museveni is moving around unrestricted, and yet we have a schedule, we already have a nomination in August," he says.

Mr. Sezi Mafabi, the Northern Division Chairperson, Mbale Municipality says what has happened is not democratic.

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