Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party youth activists have issued a one day ultimatum for the police to vacate their party premises and also to release party flag bearer Dr Kizza Besigye from what they term as ‘illegal police detention’.
Addressing a press conference at the FDC flag bearer’s Katonga Road offices in Kampala today, the youth said they will be forced to march to their party offices in Najjanankumbi to force out police in case it doesn’t leave by tomorrow.
“Tomorrow should they remain at our offices, it won’t be business as usual; we shall march and force them out, you know our numbers and mobilization,” Wilberand Atuhaire, the Kanungu FDC youth chairperson, said.
The youth leaders also sounded a warning to police that they will not accept any more ‘illegal’ detentions of Dr Besigye without trial.
‘’The state has been arresting Besigye successfully, but this time round, things have changed overnight,” Wilberforce Kakaire, one of the youths said, adding: “We will not allow an illegal arrest of Dr Kizza Besigye; touching him now is going to be like touching fire.”
The youth also condemned this morning’s arrest of FDC leaders in Mbarara who were organizing for tomorrow’s local council elections, saying it is a move by the regime to curtail their candidates from winning.
“Other camps like NRM and Independents are busy organizing themselves for tomorrow’s elections but our candidates have been arrested,” Kakaire said.
Among the arrested, they said, are Eric Turyasaba, Novena Kizinda, Patrick Mubagyizi, Jim Mutatina and a one Abdul Karim and they are reportedly being held at Ibanda Police Station.
Others arrested are Vincent Musiime, Yasin Matsiko, Robinson Ahimbisibwe, George Kahima, Francis Mugisha and Sam Kushaba who are said to be held at Mbarara Police Station.
However, police spokesperson Mr Fred Enanga denied the arrests and said the youth should cross check with police if they have the names of those reportedly arrested.
“They should follow it in terms of names because we account for all people in our custody,” Mr.Enanga said on phone today.
On Besigye’s detention, Mr.Enanga said that police is mandated under Section 24 of the Police Act to restrict the movement of an individual if they have reasonable evidence that he may cause unrest.
“Until that threat is limited, we can relax the situation but now Mr Besigye is still defiant,” Mr Enanga said.
On the issue of deployment at the FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Mr Enanga said that the police are there at invitation from the party Chairman Waswa Birigwa and that they will only leave when they are asked to leave through an official letter.
However, FDC party president Mugisha Muntu said during a television interview yesterday that Mr Birigwa’s letter was asking for police presence at the party offices until February 17, a day before the general elections.
By press time today efforts to contact FDC spokesperson Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda on phone were futile, as he did not answer our repeated calls.
Meanwhile, by press time the FDC officials at Najjanankumbi refused to receive the presidential elections declaration forms, saying they were delivered past offices hours.