Uganda: Frustrated By Police, Bobi Seeks EC Help

Robert Kyagulanyi addresses journalists at his home in Magere, Wakiso District (file photo).
24 February 2020

Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, has petitioned the Electoral Commission to intervene and help him resume his consultation meetings on his 2021 presidential bid, saying police have become a stumbling block.

On February 21, Bobi Wine wrote to the EC indicating the 10 issues he wants police to address before he resumes the meetings.

"The purpose of this letter is to also request you to convene a meeting with the Uganda Police Force as soon as possible, (preferably between February 24 and February 28)so that our consultations can go on without hindrance," the letter to the EC chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama, reads in part.

Bobi Wine said he wants police to acknowledge receipt of his letters when they get them, respond to his notices for any consultative meeting, be allowed in some cases to hold consultations in an open place, but without holding processions.

He also said police should not ask for unreasonable requirements which cannot be accessed by private citizens, and allow him to take interviews from the media as well as distribute questionnaires.

Other demands include holding consultations up to 7pm as it is in the Public Order Management Act (POMA) not 5pm as police have always demanded.

Bobi Wine asked the EC to reign in all government agencies to remain non-partisan.

The EC spokesperson, Mr Jotham Taremwa, said: "I cannot respond to this letter because I have neither seen nor read it. I am unable to give any response."

Section 88 of the Presidential Elections Act provides for the EC to set regulations and guidelines through which aspirants can carry out consultations, level the ground for candidates, especially in accessing the media and voter information distribution, among others. EC is, thereafter, required to submit the set guidelines to Parliament for approval and later give them to the aspirants.

Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, the spokesperson of the People Power movement, yesterday said they are being tossed between EC and police to frustrate their plans for consultations.

"We have tried to bend backwards to make sure we do all things that they want but if they continue to toss us, we shall take the next step and do our consultations as planned," he said.

Attempt

Last week, Bobi Wine wrote to police notifying them of the consultative meeting he intended to hold at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel today.

However, police told him to first meet them, as advised by EC during the January mediation between presidential aspirants to agree on particular issues for the meetings.

On February 18, when Bobi Wine wrote to police requesting for the meeting, they told him to first write to EC showing what he would like police to do for him to allow his consultations.

This is not the first time police have blocked the legislator's consultative meetings.

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