Police have dared the National Unity Platform (NUP) party to resume its countrywide tours that were canceled last week by the deputy inspector general of police, Maj Gen Geoffrey Katsigazi Tumusiime.
It came after NUP’s leadership vowed to resume their countrywide mobilization tours upon return from overseas trips. Key NUP figures, including the party president Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine, secretary general Lewis Rubongoya, and spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi are currently meeting with their diaspora members and supporters.
Speaking to the media shortly after Tumusiime's decision to cancel the tours, Ssenyonyi dismissed claims of violence and sectarianism and declared their readiness to resume activities upon their return from the diaspora.
Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, has provided further details on why the force cancelled NUP's mobilization tours. Enanga cited credible information indicating that NUP had planned to confront police officers in a bid to create disorderly scenes for political gain.
“While the NUP insist their mobilization tours were peaceful, we had credible intelligence that they were determined to confront police and attract ugly scenes, disrupt the unregulated processions, and cause significant risk to the public, motorists, pedestrians, bystanders, and participants,” Enanga said.
Rubongoya dismissed police claims that they were planning to attack security personnel as baseless. He stated, “But of course, it's hogwash for them to make such ridiculous claims. You saw how peaceful our activities were wherever we went, so there is no iota of truth in those claims.”
Kyagulanyi has been drawing large crowds in almost every part of the country during their initial phase of mobilization tours. In this phase, NUP visited various locations, including Mbarara, Kabale, Kasese, Mbale, Mayuge, Hoima, Arua, Lira, and Luweero.
Maj Gen Tumusiime argued that during these visits, NUP did not adhere to police guidelines, leading to traffic disruptions, business losses, property damage, traffic-related fatalities, and public disorder.
“In the first phase, the police and sister security agencies exercised restraint and avoided any confrontation with NUP, that could have attracted ugly scenes, for publicity and negative propaganda against the police and the country at large,” Enanga said.
Tumusiime emphasized that they could not afford to witness cities, towns, and the entire country in turmoil, which was their reason for canceling NUP's countrywide tours. Police alleged that Bobi Wine and other NUP party leaders were inciting the public to protest against the government.