Additional security forces have been deployed to Luweero, Nakaseke, and Nakasongola in Central region ahead of rallies by the National Unity Platform (NUP) on Saturday, November 28. The party's presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi, also known by his stage name Bobi Wine, will be attending the rallies. The NUP reported that a day-time curfew has been enforced in these locations ahead of the rallies; however, police have denied this. Unconfirmed reports also suggest that a number of NUP activists were arrested whilst calling residents to attend the events. Police previously declined permission for events to been staged in Kapeeka, Kiwoko, and Semuto.
The rallies come as Kyagulanyi resumes campaigning following his arrest on November 18 at a rally in Luuka district (Eastern region). At least 45 people were killed in several days of unrest in Kampala and other areas of the country after police aggressively broke up the rally, citing violation of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions on gatherings of more than 200 people. Kyagulanyi was subsequently charged with violation of COVID-19 restrictions and released on bail on November 20 but the arrest is widely seen as having been politically motivated.
The rallies have the potential to be dispersed by police, which may result in clashes between protesters and security forces.
Political tensions in Uganda have been increasing ahead of the presidential election in 2021, after President Yoweri Museveni pushed through controversial constitutional reforms in December 2017 to remove the presidential age limit in a move widely seen as paving the way for him to stand for a sixth term in office. The debate around the proposed constitutional reforms was bitter with infighting within the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), regular protests and several opposition leaders being arrested. However, Museveni and his supporters, backed by a closely-aligned and powerful military, have largely succeeded in suppressing opposition to his candidacy within the NRM.
Having come to prominence during the constitutional reform campaign, Robert Kyagulanyi has become a major opposition talisman following his move into politics in 2017. The outspoken critic of Museveni has been arrested multiple times by security forces on charges related to anti-government protests, with arrests sparking unrest amongst his populist support base. After announcing his bid to run for president in the 2021 general election in 2019, he assumed leadership of the National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party and revamped it as the National Unity Platform, becoming the party's de facto presidential candidate.
Those in the area are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all rallies as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
Copyright and Disclaimer