The state minister for Investment Evelyne Anite has been summoned by police for flouting COVID-19 health safety guidelines when she held a campaign procession in her home area, Koboko.
Last Saturday, Anite organised a procession where multitudes of her supporters marched through the streets in Koboko town in northern Uganda to celebrate her donation of an ambulance.
Although they were dressed in her campaign T-shirts, imprinted with her portraits, the minister later claimed she did not know about the procession and that she did not organise following a backlash on social media.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga says that Anite and other politicians abused all the guidelines set by the Electoral Commission, risking the lives of Ugandans in Koboko Municipality and also presented an ugly image as a leader to other Ugandans.
Enanga added that although several politicians from different parts of the country conducted similar political activities, Anite’s case was outstanding.
Minister Evelyn Anite holding a campaign procession in her home area, Koboko. Police recently said aspirants are not allowed to hold any processions due to the #COVID19 pandemic with aspirants only allowed to move with a max 2 people.— The Observer (@observerug) August 8, 2020
Courtesy video pic.twitter.com/CFNNe8cbjJ
Similar crowds who even 'overwhelmed' police were seen in Sheema Municipality, where supporters of Dickson Kateshumbwa, one of the ruling party aspirants also held a procession. He, too like Anite said he did not organise the procession.
Enanga said the two have been summoned for disregarding all guidelines issued to ensure that the disease, which spreads through person to person contact, does not spread in the communities. Enanga says that Anite will equally be charged for participating in a negligent act which is likely to spread infectious disease and disobedience of lawful orders.
"The incumbent MP for Koboko Municipality that is honourable minister Anite Evelyn came in a big crowd, in a procession involving vehicles that is along Oraba road, then entered Koboko Municipality. Police officers in that area managed to track down the organizers because for honourable Anite immediately after she drove back to Kampala but we’re going to get her through our CID headquarters in Kampala. We managed to arrest her campaign manager or agent called Remmy Malizan and all those who organised this illegal procession in Koboko are going to be tracked down, arrested and charged with organising an illegal assembly," Enanga said.
Meanwhile, Enanga says that police have summoned all regional and divisional police commanders from areas of Mbale, Bulambuli, Napak, Hoima, Kampala, Mbarara, Sheema, Koboko and Mitooma among others to explain to their bosses why they failed to enforce the COVID-19 guidelines.
He added that all police commanders in the country have orders not to be lenient with any politician from any political grouping to violate the COVID-19 guidelines because one of their prime duties as police is to protect people’s lives from threats like COVID-19.
Police has come under criticism for playing blind as minister after minister and other ruling party aspirants continue to flout anti-coronavirus guidelines but go tough on opposition politicians. On the same weekend when Anite held a procession without police intervention, Kyadondo East MP also presidential aspirant was blocked from attending a radio talkshow in Mbale. Police fired tear gas and bullets to disperse his supporters. Likewise, Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa Sserunga was arrested by police for holding a meeting of about 20 people.