Bobi Wine calls for EC boss resignation, Byabakama laughs off

Bobi Wine dressed in bullet proof gear
Bobi Wine dressed in bullet proof gear

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Electoral Commission [EC] chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi has laughed off National Unity Platform [NUP] presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine’s calls to resign, saying he’s yet to dream about that particular matter.   

Byabakama said he and the Commission he leads have done a tremendous job to ensure that Uganda holds elections as demanded by the Constitution. 

Speaking to reporters at the EC offices along Jinja road in Kampala, Kyagulanyi said he’s tired of the police and the army interrupting his political campaigns while the EC does nothing to show that they are in charge of the electoral process. He called on Byabakama to do his job or resign. 

“We came to face the Electoral Commission [EC] one; because the Electoral Commission has been silent, they have been silent ever since we were brutally arrested from the nomination grounds. Electoral Commission has been silent since the murder of more than 100 innocent citizens of Uganda. The Electoral Commission was silent even when 5 people were murdered in Nakifuma by police trucks running over them.

So we came to go on record, we came because we know that the Electoral Commission is responsible for these elections. And yes, we put it to them among the issues we raised was a question of whether the Electoral Commission is in charge,” said Kyagulanyi. 

Kyagulanyi didn’t say exactly what he wants the EC to do with the security forces which are not under the direct command of Byabakama. In a closed-door meeting that lasted almost four hours also attended by several NUP party officials, Kyagulanyi told the media that he asked the Commission to take charge of the process as is mandated by the law.  

He showed them several pictures depicting the horrific scenes that include police firing at unarmed supporters, his car submerged in the smoke of teargas, some of his wounded supporters among others as evidence of the blatant violations of his rights as a candidate. 

He dispelled arguments by the security that when they break up his meetings they do so because they are enforcing guidelines on the spread of coronavirus.

He said if that were the case, then even the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni who was seen addressing a crowd of supporters not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing in Busia, would have received similar treatment.

“Why did candidate Kyagulanyi come to us if we’re not in charge. We’re in charge. I have not even dreamt of resigning, by the way, the dream has not yet occurred, maybe if I get that dream, that revelation, I will let the people know. Am here to serve the country, I was entrusted with this office, and I think let people be objective, analytical.

Yes, there could have been one or two challenges like there is in every facet of life but we have delivered on all those duties on all those undertakings that we said we’re going to carry out despite of COVDI-19 when we have lost valuable time,” Byabakama said. 

For the continued break up of Kyagulanyi’s meetings, Byabakama said that they have agreed to hold a meeting between the top leadership of the police and all presidential candidates. 

On Tuesday 1, December 2020, Kyagulanyi narrowly survived death after his vehicle was directly fired at damaging the front windscreen and also flattening two of the front tyres while he attempted to go to Jinja city.

Two of his aides including the driver and the police bodyguard were also injured. Kyagulanyi was scheduled to hold a campaign meeting in Jinja city and Kamuli district having held teargas and bullet-filled campaigns in Kayunga district earlier in the day. 

After the Jinja incident, he temporarily suspended his campaign until the Electoral Commission express dissatisfaction with the way he’s being treated. Now he says he will today resume his normal campaigning activities starting with Namutumba district.  

Meanwhile, police in Elgon region have warned residents of Manafwa and Bududa against staging any procession ahead of Kyagulanyi’s scheduled campaigns. Kyagulanyi is expected to campaign in Kibuku and Budaka districts before heading to Manafwa and Bududa districts later in the afternoon.

On Wednesday 2nd evening, the Elgon Region police spokesperson, John Robert Tukei called for cooperation between security and residents to avoid skirmishes as Kyagulanyi campaigns there. He also called on the organizers of Kyagulanyi’s campaigns to stick to the campaign venues as directed by police. 

Jafari Magyezi, the Bududa district police commander, said no procession will be allowed to accompany Kyagulanyi in compliance with the standard operating procedures issued by the Health ministry to stop the spread of the COVID-19. 

John Watenyeli Nabende, the Bududa resident district commissioner, said they are ready to receive Kyagulanyi if he is escorted by the recommended number of people, 200. 

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He argued that they have no intentions of frustrating Kyagulanyi’s campaigns as many people think but they are only interested in protecting people from contracting COVID-19.

John Baptist Nambeshe, the Eastern region NUP coordinator decried the venue allocated for their campaigns, saying they had selected Bumwalye playground in Butiru town council but security pushed them to Mayenze near Bududa Central police station.

Kyagulanyi has had rough campaigns right from the first day of his nominations because of clashes with security. Police have repeatedly accused the leader of Uganda’s youngest political party of violating the COVID-19 guidelines.