Hundreds of National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters in Luweero overcame state intimidation and trekked for over 13kms to attend the campaign rally of their presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine in Kalwana in Kassanda. Earlier, Kyagulanyi was denied access to Kassanda town as the police blocked the roads leading to the central business district. He was led through Kookoowe, Kabulubutu, Seeta and Kitongo villages to Kalwana playground where he held his rally about 13km away from Kassanda town centre. But despite firing teargas at his supporters and bullets in the air to scare and block the residents from attending Kyagulanyi’s rally, the high numbers of supporters overwhelmed police who simply looked on as hundreds of people poured in to attend Kyagulanyi’s rally in Kalwana. Kyagulanyi told the locals that such spirit and determination is what is needed to overthrow President Yoweri Museeni from power after 35 years. Kyagulanyi said that the struggle he is leading to liberate Ugandans from bad governance is real and irreversible. Kyagulanyi says that although some leaders in the current regime are creating an impression that he cannot be president due to his age and ghetto background, it is evident that he is a threat to the regime, citing the numerous security personnel who trail him during the campaigns. “Freedom is when you overcome love of money and fear of death,” Kyagulanyi said. “When you don’t love money, no one can buy off. You have seen some of our colleagues being bought off. And when you don’t fear death nobody can intimidate you. I have news for you Mr. Museveni; we are no longer scared. Give us liberty or death. You can’t kill us all. Luweero you see, you made it here to my rally because you overcame your fear despite security intimidating, beating you, arresting some of you. You overcame bullets. Those who feared are not here. That is the power of the people. Don’t fear the army or police. Our brothers and sisters in the army and police are only 60,000 and we’re 43 million, and let tell you 90% of those soldiers support us and will join us when the day comes,” Kyagulanyi told the excited crowd. Kyagulanyi also asked the youth to desist from acts of violence even when they are provoked by security personnel. He condemned the police for denying him access to major towns and the people therein but he considered it as an opportunity for him to meet even those people in remote areas of the country. He said he is a different opposition candidate whose modus operandi has become a constant headache to Museveni. According to Kyagulanyi, although Museveni and his state machinery knew how to handle the threat of previous opposition candidates including Dr Kawanga Ssemwogerere and Dr Kizza Besigye, the youth this time, he said are determined and operating differently. He urged the residents to come on January 14, 2021, and vote in big numbers just like they are attending his rallies but also stay around to guard their ballots. “I have no attachment whatsoever to Museveni or his regime, he can’t read me my next move. He has previously read and figured out how to deal with other opposition politicians, but for me, he can’t figure out how to deal with me because I’m a youth and am from the ghetto. We’re a generation which is not concerned about tribes, we just want a peaceful change of leadership. We’re tired of Museveni’s lies and empty promises. He broke a promise of handing back power to the people after 4 years when he killed thousands of our people in Luweero. None of those people he killed was from his family,” Kyagulanyi said.Kyagulanyi used the rally to invite to the podium Agnes Nakamya, the mother of a 14-year-old boy who was allegedly shot dead by Abraham Tukundane, the Luwero district police commander (DPC) during protests against Kyagulanyi’s arrest and detention two weeks ago. “My son was shot dead by the DPC Tukundane. It is painful but let my son’s life not go in vain. I pray to God that he becomes a martyr for this struggle. Once Bobi Wine becomes president, I will have peace of mind and deal with this pain. I have now made up my mind, me and my entire family we’re going to vote Bobi Wine. I no longer care or fear, they can come and arrest me but I have declared publicly here, am voting for Bobi Wine. Those people killed my son,” Nakamya said. Kassanda North MP Patrick Nsamba earlier told Kyagulanyi that among the major challenges faced by the people in the district is Museveni’s brother, Aine Sodo Kaguta one of the contestants for the Mawogola North MP seat in Sembabule district who has allegedly taken over ownership of almost all the gold mines within Kassanda.
Nsamba also rubbished the allegations traded by the ruling NRM government that once Kyagulanyi is elected president, all non- Baganda will be evicted from their land. Kyagulanyi said he’d become angry with the residents of Luweero for always falling for Museveni’s lies by overwhelming voting for him in previous elections despite him killing over 500,000 people of their family members during the NRA bush wars. Kyagulanyi said Uganda is a rich country but its riches are being enjoyed by President Museveni and his family. NAKASONGOLA DRAMA Before descending to Luweeeo, Kyagulanyi again clashed with police in Nakasongola over alleged intimidation of his supporters. At around 10 am, Kyagulanyi arrived at Lwamutoogo cattle market in Nakasongola town council to hold his campaign rally. However, Kyagulanyi was surprised to find the venue with less than 30 people after security personnel blocked locals from accessing it.
Kyagulanyi forced his way through a police blockade and drove to his NUP offices located inside Nakasongola town council. He started to mobilise the residents to come with him to the campaign venue, located about three kilometres from Nakasongola town council.
On his return from the mobilisation drive, soldiers and police officers commanded by Patience Namara again blocked the crowd from accessing the venue on grounds that it would be in contravention of the COVID-19 guidelines against mass rallies. Kyagulanyi protested the action and disembarked from his vehicle before again walking back to town, calling on the residents to come to the venue so he can address them.
With tensions rising, Savannah regional police commander (RPC) Susan Nalwoga intelligently pleaded with Kyagulanyi to return to the campaign venue promising that she was going to order the police to allow his supporters to enter the campaign venue. With Nalwoga coming good on her word, the rising tensions were quickly diffused and supporters allowed to pour into the venue. The previous day, Kyagulanyi clashed with DPC Namara at Migyera town council after she chased him from the township where he and his team spent the night in cold on the roadside after she denied him access to hotels where he had booked accommodation.
While addressing the residents, Kyagulanyi asked residents to remain strong despite intimidation they are facing from security personnel. Kyagulanyi promised to ensure residents reclaim ownership of their land which he alleges has been grabbed, leaving many evicted and other squatters. He also promised to stop the brutality of UPDF soldiers targeting fishermen on Lake Kyoga once elected president.
Ivan Kyeyune, the NUP candidate for Nakasongola county said they had planned to organise a rally at Nakasongola RC primary school but police blocked it and ordered to organise it in a remote area. Kyeyune added policemen also mounted several roadblocks and threatened to arrest residents who would cross to attend the rally.
Nathan Musoke, the NUP candidate for Budyebo County says that other residents said they were put on a crime watch list and their names read out on local radio so as to intimidate them. Musoke says that intimidation was intended to ensure Kyagulanyi does not speak to people in what is formerly known as an NRM stronghold which is falling to the opposition. Musoke adds that boda boda riders were intimidated not to escort Kyagulanyi to the venue or else face arrest.