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Jinja NRM chairman arrested over desertion, breaking electoral laws

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Jinja: Police have denied Jinja Municipality National Resistance Movement chairman bond.

Although it had been reported that Mr Julius Ziwa had been arrested out of persecution for supporting a Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate in the just concluded by-elections where Mr Paul Mwiru trounced NRM’s Nathan Igeme, Police say Mr Ziwa is a serving marine officer at the rank of police inspector who had deserted the force and therefore he is a flight risk should he be granted bond.

Kiira regional police Commander, Onesmus Mwesigwa, says police have been looking for him over dissertation for “quite some time”.

“He is in our hands on several charges. During the recent by-election in Jinja east, a serving police officer was involved in assault, intimidation, sabotage of candidates, character assassination, bribery of voters and procuring of names of voters other than those registered in the voter’s register which is contrary to Section 29 of the Elections Act.

“Ziwa is an Inspector of Police. Now, if any officer is not at the station where he is posted he should either be on special duty or in the barracks. But Ziwa doesn’t work yet he has never been retired and he even [still] receives salary. Therefore, we pick interest [as police] in any case when our officers break the law. So, we have him in custody to answer those charges,” Mwesigwa said.

Appearing on Council-Yaife, a radio talk show on 87.7 Baba FM while campaigning for FDC candidate Paul Mwiru, Mr Ziwa said he had retired from the force.

“I retired some years back. I have only not yet received my benefits. I therefore, have no problem involving myself in partisan politics,” he Ziwa while on the show.

It was the same thing he said to the land inquiry commission of Justice Catherine Bamugemereire last year when he was asked to introduce self.

Mwesigwa, however, says all these claims by Ziwa are lies. “Take it from me, he is still a police officer,” he said.

It is not clear why police had not picked interest in pursuing the ‘deserter’ who since 2015 has been very active in politics.

He participated in partisan politics when he personally contested to hold the office he currently holds in the ruling party. He also actively campaigned for president Museveni and other NRM flag bearers in the district including Igeme in the 2016 general elections.

But his woes started early this year when he openly abandoned his NRM party flagger bearer, Igeme, criticized him and exposed his weaknesses and that of the party as he campaigned for Igeme’s rival.

Actually on Saturday January 20, 2018 Ziwa held a meeting 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. 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,” Ziwa told the meeting.

Ziwa took the same crusade to the radios and rallies – weakening 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. In fact 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.

During campaigns, Mr Ziwa was always in the company of FDC diehards including Jinja central division chairman – Kirunda  Mubarak, Jinja Municipal Council Speaker, Morrison Bizitu and former Walukuba Masese Division chairman, Muhammed Musisi Kibugudhu busy rallying support for Mwiru. The three are now on court bail facing charges related to election malpractices.

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.

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Senior Writer-Busoga

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