The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and the police are engaged in a supremacy battle of words, as the two groups vow to outdo each other following the announcement of the return of the party flag bearer Dr Kizza Besigye from a ‘working visit’ to Europe and the United States.
According to FDC stalwart Wafula Oguttu, the party is to hold two functions this fortnight, beginning with the welcome of Dr Besigye on Thursday, September 29 and then the holding of ‘Independence Day’ celebrations, beginning Friday, October 7.
But reacting to the announcements, police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi said the force will not allow anyone to act contrary to the law.
“We can’t allow anybody assemble along Entebbe highway to disrupt peace. Whoever continues with the alleged procession will not be allowed to see the light of the day,” Kaweesi warned early Monday.
“They should have requested for permission from police. But even then, we will not allow them hold a procession along the way considering what transpired some time back. Anybody who organises it should follow the law or else it is illegal and we shall stop it before it matures and prosecute whoever is involved,” Mr Kaweesi added.
Dr Besigye, who the FDC says won the February 2016 presidential elections, has been on a month-long ‘working visit’ to Europe and the United States.
And, addressing the media today, Mr Oguttu, said on Thursday morning the party members will receive Dr Besigye at Entebbe International Airport, and then lead him in a procession to his home in Kasangati.
He said that the procession, which was meant to converge at the FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi had been switched to Dr Besigye’s Kasangati home to pave the way for the party members to pay last respects to the father of MP Odonga Otto, whose burial will also take place on Thursday.
“It is not illegal to welcome back our president from the airport; this is a normal gesture different people conduct; the Muslim pilgrims are usually welcomed back by relatives and friends from the same venue so what we are intending to conduct is a common practice,” Wafula Oguttu said, emphasising that the FDC Deputy Secretary General Harold Kaija had already written to police about the impending party activities.
“As far as we are concerned our role is to inform the police so that they can assist in traffic control but we are not requesting for their permission,” he added.
Mr Oguttu also said the party would hold parallel Independence Day celebrations, beginning with Jumah prayers at Bweyogerere Mosque on Friday, followed by a public rally on the ‘state of Uganda’ today. Other scheduled activities include holding another public rally in Kawempe on Saturday, followed by the FDC Independence Day celebrations on Sunday, October 9 at Katwe grounds.
Meanwhile, the FDC leadership has scoffed at the move by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga to honour Dr Besigye and his wife Winnie Byanyima as heroes.
According to the party, the award of medals to the two is a diversionary stunt aimed at shrouding their party’s victory in the presidential elections.
“Instead of the NRM honouring the FDC presidential elections victory they want to hoodwink us with a heroic stunt which we cannot accept,” Mr Oguttu said.
He added: “We would therefore appreciate it if they honoured people like Namaganda, the pupil who passed on while saving her fellow pupils when a fire gutted their dormitory.”