Drama and chaos as Uganda presidential candidate is barred from campaigning

Police block John Patrick Amama Mbabazi's motorcade

Police block John Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s motorcade

Drama ensued Thursday in the Ugandan eastern town of Jinja when Amama Mbabazi, former prime minister, and now Independent candidate for president was denied access to a campaign venue he had allegedly paid for and booked ahead of time.

The Uganda police besieged Kakindu Stadium and Kazimingi industrial park and dispersed thousands of Mbabazi supporters in bid to stop them from gathering at two venues in close proximity to one another.

According to the Jinja Town authorities the football field had already been booked by the Uganda Police for their month-long security activities but Mbabazi dismissed this claim saying if the police had booked the venue before him there’s no way their booking fees would have been accepted by the town clerk’s office.

“We paid money for the venue and it was received, if it was pre-booked by Police, why would they receive our money,” an infuriated Mbabazi told the press.

Mbabazi, a longtime member of the ruling party NRM said the police and the town leadership had somewhat connived in the effort of “only complicating my process.”

Despite warnings from the police and town leaders not to use the venues in question, the former ally of President Yoweri Museveni defiantly tried to force his way but was teargased along with his supporters and was later addressed a few supporters at nearby Nile Village Hotel before being escorted by the heavily armed police to the capital Kampala.

Mbabazi was finally allowed to campaign this week in Mbale where he drew huge crowds of supporters who had waited for months to meet with their man.

Mbabazi tries to get fresh air after being teargased

Mbabazi tries to get fresh air after being teargased

In july, while still in NRM, Mbabazi was arrested in Jinja on his way to Mbale to campaign.

In a statement Wednesday,  the Uganda Police said it disrupting Mbabazi’s rallies because they against the Presidential Aspirants Act that state candidates are only allowed to hold consultative meetings with voters in closed doors.

“It has however, been noted with serious concern that individual aspirants have failed to comply with these provisions (National Electoral Commission’s) of holding consultations in confined spaces, and instead seen to be holding rallies and mass meetings which are prohibited actions,” Fred Enanga, Uganda Police Spokesman said.

Enanga further indicated Mbabazi’s rally was blocked and disperse because “it was found to be in violation of the law.”

Afrika Reporter has learnt one of Mbabazi’s bodyguards was short in the leg and his security chief briefly arrested in the confrontation.