Lira, Uganda | URN | Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s consultation meeting in Lira town in northern Uganda was cancelled on Tuesday 7th, January 2020 by security over alleged failure to meet guidelines on public meetings.
Bobi Wine who was cleared by the Electoral Commission (EC) to hold consultation meetings on his presidential bid in the 2021 general elections, has insisted to be in Lira today Wednesday 8th to go ahead with the consultation meeting as earlier planned.
But addressing the media on Tuesday 7th, Lira Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Milton Odongo said that although police had initially granted permission to Bobi Wine’s People Power to hold the meeting, now the meeting will not be allowed after the organisers failed to secure written consent from the proprietor of Pacific Grand hotel where the meeting was scheduled to take place.
“The proprietor of the hotel, Pacific hotel did not write a consent letter accepting to host Bobi Wine as stipulated in the IGP’s letter, Section F which says a clear programme and proof of consent for the use of the intended venue. The legal proprietor must be given three days before the intended consultative meeting. So that is the reason for calling off that meeting,” said Odongo.
Earlier, Odongo had promised to provide security to People Power as long as they follow the guidelines established by the police. Moses Okot aka Okot P’ Bitek, the People Power coordinator in Lango sub-region explained that they met all the requirements for the meeting to take place.
According to the initial guidelines and clearance issued by the police, the People Power team was expected to use Juba road straight to Uhuru bar roundabout via Uganda Technical College to the venue, Pacific Grand hotel.
They are also expected not to among other things hold any procession in town or conduct any political rally as well as distribute political materials. All participants in the meeting are expected to wear identification tags.
This is the third meeting to be cancelled this week following the one in Bobi Wine’s constituency and another which was to be held in Gulu district at Da Covenant hotel grounds yesterday. Concerned by the state’s highhandedness, Bobi Wine cancelled yesterday’s meeting in Gulu citing persecution of his supporters. .
Bobi Wine and several others were on Monday arrested and detained till late in the evening over attempts to hold a consultative meeting in Gayaza.
They were released unconditionally, with police saying they had failed to meet the set guidelines including holding the consultations in an enclosed venue, securing sniffer dogs, ambulances, enough toilets among others. Police fired bullets and tear gas to disperse Bobi Wine’s supporters who were protesting against his arrest.
Benjamin Katana, one of the People Power lawyers says when the group notified the Electoral Commission, they were cleared with guidance to notify the local authorities and police in areas they will hold consultative meetings.
Katana says the demand by Uganda Police to Kyagulanyi’s group to produce firefighting equipment, traffic guides and sniffer dogs are not only unreasonable but also a lame excuse. He argues that citizens have already contributed to these requirements, which are in police control.
The Kira Division Police Commander, Micheal Kasigire who appeared with anti-riot police at the venue where Kyagulanyi was holding a presser denied allegations leveled against the force. He says the group should prove their allegations if they are to be believed by the public.
In a statement issued on Monday 6th, Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga said Kyagulanyi continues to show blatant disregard of the law, specifically the procedures of the Public Order Management Act (POMA). Police says the requirements for Kyagulanyi to carry out his consultations were not fully met.
Kyagulanyi is expected to provide a traffic or assembly plan, public safety plan with ambulances and fire-fighting equipment, a demand he and his lawyers have rejected.