Jinja: A group of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leaders has stormed Jinja Central Police Station demanding the immediate release of NRM’s party chairman for Jinja Municipality, Julius Ziwa.
Mr Ziwa was arrested on Tuesday accused of desertion from police and election malpractices that marred the just concluded Jinja East MP by-election.
Ziwa supported the FDC candidate, Mr Paul Mwiru who trounced NRM’s Nathan Igeme. Kiira Regional Police Commander, Onsesmus Mwesigwa says Mr Ziwa is a serving marine officer at the rank of Inspector of Police.
That he used the rank to assault, insult, intimidate, character assassinate and sabotage candidates and bribe voters and procure names of voters other than those registered in the voter’s register which is contrary to Section 29 of the Elections Act.
But Jinja FDC diehards led by Municipal Council Speaker, Morrison Bizitu and party chairman for Jinja East constituency, Xavia Kasagira have today camped at Jinja CPS. They contend that the suspect must either be granted police bond or produced in courts of law.
We love our political opponent
Asked why it is them (FDC) asking police to release the NRM chairman, Mr Bizitu said: Leaving political differences aside, Mr Ziwa is a Ugandan who is entitled to a police bond like any other person.
“So we are demanding that he is either released or produced in courts of law on whatever charges,” he added before admitting that they were fighting for him because he openly supported their candidate, Mr Mwiru.
Police say, Mr Ziwa deserted the force some years back and that they have been looking for him because ‘he is supposed to live in the barracks’.
Rumour has it that some 5 year ago Mr Ziwa was suspended from the force over indiscipline. He got disgruntled and decided to apply for an early retirement which was never granted.
“He is a flight risk should he be granted bond. We shall hold him until the Human Resource Directorate of the force pronounces itself on his fate.” Mwesigwa says.
Ziwa’s woes stems from a meeting he chaired early this year in which he turned against his party flagger bearer, Igeme, criticized him and exposed his weaknesses and that of the party as he campaigned for Igeme’s rival.
On Saturday January 20, 2018 it is said that Ziwa met with NRM village chairpersons of Walukuba and Masese parishes in Jinja east and lured them to declare loss of moral support and confidence in Igeme.
Saul to Paul?
This meeting which Ziwa called in his capacity as NRM chairman of Jinja Municipality was held at Walukuba Community centre.
“We need to have a leader that can lobby for us. We have many challenges such as the sorry state of our health centre IV. Besides, however much we vote for NRM, we have benefited nothing much,” he is quoted to have told the meeting.
He took the same crusade to the radios and rallies a move believed to have weakened the NRM candidate and the party at large.
Efforts by the party Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba to have Ziwa tone down yielded no fruits.
Even Igeme himself asked for forgiveness from Ziwa in case he had angered him or disappointed him in whichever way but Ziwa insisted the time was up for him.
Last month NRM lawyers petitioned the High Court in Jinja praying that it nullified Mwiru’s victory and declare their client, Nathan Igeme Nabeta as the duly elected Member of Parliament for Jinja East.
NRM insists that the election was riddled with electoral malpractices including multiple voting by known members of the opposition, voter bribery, intimidation and violence against Nabeta’s supporters.