Police chief IGP Martins Okoth Ochola has revealed that officers from the Electoral and Political Offences Department at CID headquarters are actively probing presidential candidates for flouting Covid19 prevention guidelines.
In particular, CID operatives are concerned about candidates and mobilizers who have made it a habit to conduct mass rallies.
Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines allow meetings of not more than 200 people.
But candidates like Patrick Oboi Amuriat of main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), National Unity Platform (NUP)’s Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and independent presidential hopeful Lt Gen (Rtd) Henry Tumukunde have held rallies.
On many occasions, police has been engaged in running battles with these candidates and their supporters, with participants at these events ending up dispersed.
For incumbent Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), even when he has tried to stick to meetings of party leaders and mobilizers, some members of his government and party have mobilized crowds to welcome him and march on the streets in show of support.
Now, Ochola says CID officers have “obtained videos of the respective campaign trails, and started gathering evidence to press formal charges, on candidates, campaign agents and influencers who are caught on the wrong side of the law.”
The Inspector General of Police explained that the decision to push for prosecution of Amuriat, Bobi Wine, Tumukunde and others because of the politicians’ continued flouting of regulations.
“Despite repeated warnings issued to candidates, their agents and wider public about the negative impact and health risks of holding unauthorized rallies and processions, we continue to witness acts of defiance and total disregard of the EC guidelines. Therefore, those who shall defy these Electoral Commission guidelines with their sinister plans aimed at disrupting the Electoral process will definitely suffer consequences,” warned Ochola.
“We have therefore, adopted a tougher approach to preserve the integrity of the electoral process. We have dispatched our specialist teams and quick reaction teams, to identify ring leaders (and principals) for apprehension in the face of crime. We have disseminated our comprehensive policing plan to all territorial commanders for them to implement without fear or favor.”