Kampala, Uganda |URN | The Electoral Commission [EC] has deployed a new security detail for the National Unity Platform [NUP] presidential flag bearer Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.
The development comes after days of engagement between the commission and the candidate’s campaign team as the former was persuading the latter on the importance of the bodyguards to the presidential hopeful by virtue of his current status.
Kyagulanyi had rejected security detail owing to nomination day fracas. He claimed that officers deployed as his security detail failed the test of their duty when they looked on as he was being brutalized by security agents.
He further alleged that some of the guards directly participated in his beating, torturing and pepper-spraying him during the scuffle that ensued soon after he had been nominated as the army and police blocked him from launching his manifesto at the NUP headquarters in Kamwokya.
Now, Paul Bukenya, the acting Electoral Commission [EC] spokesperson says as a result of the engagements, the commission decided to withdraw the officers who failed their duties and replaced them with the new ones.
However, National Unity Platform [NUP] spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi replies that they have not shifted their earlier position of rejecting the said security personnel but they are “unbothered” if they “hang around” if that is what the electoral commission wishes.
“These officers are answerable to the same person, whether they bring new ones or old ones is all the same, we don’t want their security but if they feel like hanging around, we have no problem with them, they can be around just like any other Ugandan who may turn up for our candidate’s several campaign events, “says Ssenyonyi.
The Presidential Elections Act requires the Electoral Commission [EC] to issue security to each candidate during campaigns and at their place of residence. This year, the electoral commission gave a total of ten officers to each candidate.
However, following the nomination fracas, Kyagulanyi ordered the officers given to him to vacate his property. But security and election experts warned against rejecting the government security detail.
Besides Bobi Wine, at least three other presidential aspirants have asked the electoral body to either withdraw the guards or provide them with meals.
Independent candidate John Katumba was the first to ask the EC last week to at least use part of the 20 million shillings he paid as nomination fees to feed the policemen attached to him. Willy Mayambala and Joseph Kabuleta both independents raised similar concerns.
EC’s Bukenya however says they have engaged all the candidates informing them of the importance o the security detail.