Friday, January 7, 2011

IPC wants Kayihura to explain Nakaseke fracas, say opposition defections to NRM stage-managed

Daily Monitor's Sheila Naturinda, Alfred Tumushabe & Rajab Mukombo, report in this Daily Monitor article about the partisanship the Ugandan as the presidential campaigns pick more fire. 

The Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) yesterday demanded for an explanation from the police boss on circumstances relating to the closure of a radio station in Nakaseke. The IPC said the anti-riot police barricaded the radio premises, locked the doors and denied entry to Dr Kizza Besigye, the coalition’s presidential candidate.

“The IGP should now explain how his police barricaded the radio station to prevent entry,” said Maj. Rubaramira Ruranga, the coalition’s national electoral commission chairperson. However, the police yesterday told this newspaper that the IPC should make a formal complaint and stop blaming the force for the decisions taken by the radio management.

Police deny involvement
“Police was called in by the management,” police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba, said. “Police wasn’t involved at all. Management decided to close their radio.” Addressing the media at the Forum for Democratic Change headquarters in Kampala, Maj. Ruranga said Dr Besigye was stopped from featuring on a talk show on Nakaseke FM, whose studios were closed.

“With radio presenters locked inside, the anti-riot police seemed to think Dr Besigye would force his way into the the studios,” Maj Ruranga said. “Our supporters just poured into the barricade and Dr Besigye addressed them from the veranda of the studio.”

Dr Besigye was denied the airwaves shortly after some gangs had torched cars belonging to FDC’s Moses Kabarema. The thugs burnt the vehicles hoping to stop the Besigye rally in an NRM stronghold, also finance minister Syda Bbumba’s constituency. “We shall go the furthest distance and also ask the EC and all others concerned to explain why they are treating us like this,” Maj Ruranga said. In November, six radio stations in western Ugandan denied Dr Besigye airtime and later told the EC that they did not have enough space to accommodate him.

Defections and denials
Maj Ruranga also welcomed into the IPC Mr Stuart Bukenya, an NRM national mobiliser, who crossed to the opposition camp, claiming the NRM is not relevant to Uganda anymore. Mr Bukenya handed over his party card, his mobiliser’s identity card and he was given a blue IPC campaign t-shirt. In Mbarara, FDC leaders moved to deny defections to the NRM, claiming those presented as defectors have never been committed party members.

Mr Museveni on Sunday received 185 people who defected from FDC in Kiruhura. The FDC District Woman MP candidate, Ms Dorcus Mpinga, pulled out of the race in favour of NRM’s Beatrice Rusaniaya. “We don’t know most of those who were presented. The NRM mobilisers wanted to please their leader,” said Mr Robert Tumwesigye, FDC party secretary for the district. He said Mr William Tumusiime (former district treasurer), Mr John Tugume (former secretary for mobilisation) and Mr Dennis Mugisha (former district vice chairman) were chased from leadership and replaced in April.

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