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EC chairperson Byabakama writes to IGP Ochola over disruption of opposition candidates’ campaigns

Justice Simon Byabakama. Courtesy Photo

Electoral Commission (EC) chairperson Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama has called on police chief IGP Martins Okoth Ochola to order his officers to stop blocking opposition presidential candidates’ campaign meetings.

Police has severally blocked or teargassed Patrick Oboi Amuriat (POA) of main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine of National Unity Platform (NUP), and independent candidate Lt Gen (Rtd) Henry Kakurugu Tumukunde.

On November 25, police blocked campaign meeting for Maj Gen (Rtd) Gregg Mugisha Muntu of Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) in Kamwenge.

After receiving several complaints from different camps, Justice Byabakama has written to police chief Ochola telling him unnecessary confrontations between the Force and candidates (and supporters) have “portrayed the conduct of [campaigns] in a negative way.”

The EC boss further urged the IGP to ensure that police officers respect the harmonized electoral program, a copy of which the commission claims to have shared with the agency charged with keeping law and order.

Byabakama further reminded Ochola the campaigns were legal, and police needn’t disrupt meetings or block candidates from venues.

“Uganda Police is required to ensure that this electoral process takes place in a peaceful manner and in accordance with the law and guidelines,” wrote Byabakama.

“This is, therefore, to urge you to facilitate the smooth actualization of this electoral activity, and ensure that there is no disruption and/or blocking of the harmonized campaign program.”

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