Kabarole, Uganda | URN | Independent Presidential candidate Gen. Henry Tumukunde has rallied residents of Kabarole district and Fort Portal Tourism City to vote for change in the 2021 presidential elections.
Tumukunde, who was speaking at the launch of his manifesto at Boma grounds in Fort Portal on Tuesday 17th, November 2020, said that the people of Tooro Sub-region contributed much to the liberation struggle that ushered in the current government but has not benefited much.
He gave an example of Kijura road that leads to five tea factories but remains appalling with several potholes filled with stagnant water and deep gullies.
He also said that Kabundaire-Saaka road that leads to the Katojo prison and Mountains of the Moon University – MMU, and several others roads in Kabarole and Fort Portal, are bad because of what he termed is bad leadership.
The former Security Minister also noted that Fort Portal is a tourism city in words and not in reality, promising that once elected as a president, he will promote the area’s tourism potential and put in place the necessary infrastructure so that Fort Portal people can benefit.
When the youths asked how they would benefit from his government once he wins the election, Tumukunde explained that in his manifesto, the youths have been prioritized and he will do his best to ensure they engage in meaningful income-generating activities.
Mary Rwakyaka, a former National Resistance Movement – NRM member and former councillor representing Fort Portal South Division in the Kabarole district Council, told Tumukunde that women in Tooro have not benefited from the NRM government.
She said that as a single mother, she has not seen any meaningful interventions meant to uplift the lives and status of the women in the area, and called upon Tumukunde to address the issues once he becomes the president.
In his manifesto, Tumukunde said that if elected into the country’s topmost office, he will devise ways of improving the lives of women through financial empowerment.
He said that to ensure Ugandans enjoy the country once entrusted with power, he will scrap the Over The Top – OTT tax that was imposed on social media users, ensure fair tax incentives for local and foreign investors, improve on investment in agro-technologies, among other things.
Beatrice Kiraso, the former Kabarole District Woman Member of Parliament, who is now serving as the Chief of Staff in the Tumukunde political platform, alleged that the NRM government has monetized the electoral process and made it hard for poor to compete for political offices.
Kiraso urged the people of Tooro to choose leaders basing on ideas of economic transformation and democracy rather than voting according to who gives more money.
Before Tumukunde’s rally, police heavily deployed along major roads and streets in Fort Portal.
The event that was supposed to start at 10 is started three hours late after he engaged in running battles with the police.
During the rally, he cautioned the police officers to stop harassing opposition politicians, saying that life may become hard for them when a new government takes over.
He also decried the hiked cost of airtime on radio stations which have prevented politicians from reaching their supporters. He said that the failure to reach the supporters has been compounded by a partisan police that frustrates opposition politicians.
He as well accuses the NRM party of monopolizing space on outdoor billboards making it impossible for other parties to access outdoor advertising.
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While leaving the Boma grounds, a group of unknown bouncers blocked his convoy and started beating up his supporters. The about 10 bouncers, who were travelling in the Justice, Law and Order Sector JLOS white Double-cabin, were working on the orders of the Kabarole District Police Commander, Faustine Oese.
These faced off with Tumukunde near the Fort Portal City Council offices, who asked DPC Oese to explain their legality and role in the police force but could not get an answer.
Oese then ordered them to clear the way for Tumukunde to pass, but they again blocked the road at the junction near Fort Portal Central Police Station, forcing the road users to take other routes leading to their destinations.
Efforts to get a comment from Oese about the bouncers and how they were deployed have remained fruitless.