At least five presidential candidates were part of a meeting to discuss ‘Plan B’ measures following November 18 violence that erupted following the arrest of Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and Patrick Oboi Amuriat.
Police arrested Amuriat in the northern city of Gulu and detained him till late Wednesday night, releasing him after he refused to record a statement.
Bobi spent November 18 night in detention at Nalufenya Police Station following his arrest from Luuka District.
Opposition presidential candidates have cancelled their campaigns in solidarity with Bobi Wine.
It has also emerged that a meeting of opposition politicians has discussed a plan akin to that touted by opposition strongman Dr Kizza Besigye.
The meeting held via teleconference technology was attended by Amuriat, the presidential candidate of main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Maj Gen (Rtd) Gregg Mugisha Muntu of Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), and Norbert Mao of the Democratic Party (DP).
Beatrice Kiraso represented independent candidate Lt Gen (Rtd) Henry Kakurugu Tumukunde while David Lewis Rubongoya stood in for Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP).
After the November 19 morning meeting, Mao revealed that the opposition political leaders “held consultations and agreed that we have to take steps to ensure credible elections, defend the rights of fellow candidates from the democracy seeking camp, combat police brutality and generally stop the madness on our streets by proposing a plan that will assure citizens that there’s an alternative to the discredited status quo.”
The politicians also agreed on the need to stop bloodletting. Although police put the number of those killed in Wednesday protests at three, reports indicate that the mortuary at the Mulago National Referral Hospital had received at least 16 bodies.
“Let’s stop the violence and bloodshed. The NUP Presidential Candidate must be freed immediately. There is more at stake than who becomes the next president. The whole future of Uganda is at stake. Guardians of the law are lawless. Citizens are turning on each other rather than to each other,” noted Mao.
“Riots by unruly mobs and the killing of unarmed civilians are not the answer to our current predicament. Stigmatization of entire political groups and heaping collective guilt on all for the crimes of a few is totally unacceptable.”
The presidential candidates also agreed that “the lives of innocent civilians are more important than an empty ritual purporting to be an election.”
“We have to engage with EVERYBODY to restore sanity in our country. Let us come together to break the cycle of violence in our country,” added Mao.
The leaders, opposed to Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s quest to extend his rule to four decades, are expected to hold more meetings to discuss practical ways of working together.
Previous attempts at opposition unity yielded no fruit due to suspicion and failure to harmonize interests.