It has today April 11, 2018 entered the third day since Kirunda Mubarack, the chairman of Jinja Central Division in Jinja Municipality is nowhere to be seen. But in repeated Whatsapp messages Kirunda claimed to have decided to go into exile for fear of being arrested.
“I am aware the regime wants to arrest me on fabricated cases related to the recent Jinja East by-election which we won as Forum for Democratic Change,” Kirunda posted on various Whatsapp groups on Monday April 9, 2018 a few minutes after police in Jinja arrested Jinja Municipal council speaker Morrison Bizitu.
“I am on my way to America where I will hide until I am sure that these guys (police) are no longer looking for me,” added the outspoken Kirunda.
But it has today been established by this writer that indeed Kirunda is hiding. “He could be within town (Jinja) but hiding because he is wanted. A staff at Kirunda’s office at Jinja Central Division who never wanted to be named has told us that the chairman was last seen at office on Monday afternoon.
Of recent, Kirunda has been making very provocative statements against the police and the government.
Kiira Regional police commander, Superintendent of Police Onesmus Mwesigwa could neither confirm nor deny that the police was looking for Kirunda but stated that the police had the mandate to arrest any individuals suspected to have committed crimes.
The comical chairman – Kirunda is a close friend to Jinja Municipal Council speaker, Morrison Bizitu who was arrested on Monday and whisked to Kiira Road police station where he has since been detained on charges related to electoral offenses.
“We have arrested him because of some offenses he is suspected to have committed during the recent Jinja East by-election,” a plain clothe operative from CIID headquarters told reporters on Monday as Bizitu was being whisked away.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Bizitu, Kirunda and two other prominent opposition politicians in Jinja town played a big role in ensuring that some of the polling officials were supporters of their candidate, Paul Mwiru. Mwiru was declared winner with 6,654 votes against NRM’s Nathan Igeme Nabeeta who got 5,034 votes.
It is alleged that the ‘Mwiru supporters’ who served as polling officials illegally added ghost voters in the registration database. Ten of these were also arrested from their various workplaces or homes on Monday, briefly held at Kiira Regional Police headquarters before they were taken to CPS – Jinja where they are detained.
Section 29 of the Election Commission Act states that any person who by himself or herself or any other person procures the registration of himself or herself or any other person on a voters roll for a constituency, knowing that he or she or that other person is not entitled to be registered on that voters roll or is already registered on it or on another voters roll; or by himself or herself or any other person procures the registration of a fictitious person, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding thirty currency points or to imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both.
The ruling party – NRM rejected Mwiru’s victory on grounds of alleged malpractice. Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba told a press conference a day after the elections that the party legal team was evaluating the available evidence to see whether they would challenge Mwiru’s victory in court.
By the time of filing this story there were reports that the former Walukuba-Masese LCIII chairman, Musisi Kibugudu Badman (Democratic Party) was being held at Kiira Regional Police headquarters on charges similar to those of Bizitu. Details about his arrest coming soon.