Police issue tough guidelines to Bobi Wine ahead of nationwide consultations

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Set to consult voters; Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi during one of his activism campaigns; Online Photo

Police has said People Power Presidential hopeful Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine will have to notify LC1 chairpersons and police for every area he goes for consultation.

Kyagulanyi has also been cautioned to abide by the Public Order and Management Act (POMA) -the law which regulates public assemblies in Uganda. (POMA) is widely perceived as a bad law, ambiguous, and its application has been criticized as being both oppressive and discriminatory.

According to Police Spokesperson CP Fred Enanga, the consultative meetings have also been directed to address specific issues, and Bobi must refrain from turning consultations into campaign rallies.

The People Power spokesperson Joel Senyonyi says Kyagulanyi and his group are set to adhere to all legal requirements and guidelines as prescribed, and not ready to clash with security forces.

Distribution of campaign-related materials is prohibited during the tour, and conveners are required to furnish the respective district police commanders with evidence of consent to use the premises from owners or managers.

The meetings are expected to be peaceful, but should they tend to be violent, they will be called off and reconvened only when order has been restored.

Joel Senyonyi says the group is currently drafting a schedule for the meetings which will be released soon. He said the consultation process is intended to reach out to every Ugandan for their views on Kyagulanyi’s candidature as well as support.

He however could not specifically tell whether the meetings will be conducted in open spaces, town halls or otherwise, saying all available fora will be explored including the door to door method, in order to reach out to as many Ugandans as possible.

Whereas the Presidential Elections Act allows presidential aspirant to consult which may involve carrying out nationwide consultations in preps for a manifesto and other campaign requirements, Section 3(3) lays out preliminary requirements to be complied with before consulting including introducing oneself to the Electoral Commission (EC) and notifying the relevant local council and the police of the area to which the aspirant intends to go.

Similar guidelines were issued to Fmr. Presidential candidate John Patrick Amama Mbabazi in 2015, but he had to overcome several hurdles to proceed, despite having been cleared by the Electoral Commission.

Amama Mbabazi was arrested, and his initial consultative meetings in Mbale were blocked twice forcing him to suspend the meetings for a period of more than two months until he got clearance from the then IGP Gen. Kale Kayihura.

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