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Bukimbiri by-Election: Fight As Kwizera Storms Rival's Rally

As Turyaguenda was holding his campaign rally at Kashaka village, Nombe ward, Kwizera drove in at around 02:15 PM amidst tight police and UPDF protection. He was accompanied by Abel Bizimana, the Kisoro District LC 5 chairman, and Richard Towdong, the NRM Secretary General.
Turyagyenda excanging bitter words with security officer (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)

Audio 5

There were clashes between security officers and voters in Rubuguri town council, Kisoro district on Tuesday when Eddie Kwizera Wagahungu, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party candidate stormed the campaign rally of his rival Independent candidate, Asgario Turyagyenda. 

According to the Electoral Commission schedule, Turyagyenda was supposed to campaign in Rubuguri town council, Kwizera in Nyanamo town council, the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC candidate, James Owebeyi Mugyeman in Bukimbiri sub-county, and Independent Edward Mutabazi in Nyundo sub-county.  

However, as Turyaguenda was holding his campaign rally at Kashaka village, Nombe ward, Kwizera drove in at around 02:15 PM amidst tight police and UPDF protection. He was accompanied by Abel Bizimana, the Kisoro District LC 5 chairman, and Richard Towdong, the NRM Secretary General. No sooner had Kwizera and his team arrived at the rally venue than Turyagyenda’s supporters lost their cool demanding an explanation as to why the NRM group invaded their rally.

They ordered Kwizera and his team to drive away since they were not supposed to be in Rubuguri town council. However, the heavily armed police and soldiers ordered Turyagyenda to give way and allow Kwizera also to campaign at the rally. This led to skirmishes between Turyagyenda’s supporters and security. Turyagyenda also tried to demand an explanation as to why the NRM supporters were disrupting his rally but the security personnel chased him. 

In the process, an unidentified soldier was seen strangling Turyagyenda’s driver, Paul Rujambere as a police officer donning civilian clothes aboard a police patrol pick-up registration number 7685 jumped out and forced their way into one of Turyagyenda’s vehicles and tried to drive it away. He however met resistance from Turyagyenda’s supporters.  

       

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Kwizera told our reporter that he was heading to Kirundo sub-county and instead accused Turyagyenda and his supporters of blocking him. He declined to comment more about the matter. After about an hour, Kwizera and his crew bowed out and drove away.    

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Security officers also broke a camera belonging to Ronald Bishinzimana and confiscated his camera lens and battery. After his departure, Turyagyenda’s supporters led by Denis Nsenga and George Agaba accused Kwizera of resorting to impunity in the campaigns. 

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Turyagyenda condemned Kwizera’s action, saying that he will report the matter to the Electoral Commission for help. He accused Kwizera of using security and other government officials to intimidate voters.

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t Hakyapa along Rubuguri-kisoro town council, an unidentified man survived being lynched by angry voters following a disagreement on how to share the money they received from kwizera as he was driving from Turyagyenda’s campaign rally. 

Kwizera reportedly gave the group Shillings 20,000 to vote for him. However, the man pocketed the money and attempted to run prompting other voters to pursue him. They assaulted him. It took the intervention of the anti-riot police to rescue and whisk him off to Rubuguri police station for protection.       

 

On Monday, Kwizera also clashed with Owebeyi in Nyabaremura trading center in Nyabaremura ward at around 03:35 pm. Kwizera who was supposed to be campaigning in Kirundo sub-county stormed Owebeyi’s campaign rally in the company of Prime Minister Robinah Nabanja, Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister for Information and National Guidance, Henry Ariganyira Musasizi, the State Minister for Finance in charge of General Duties, Sarah Mateke Nyirabashitsi, the State Minister in charge of youth and children, Jackeline Kyatuheire, NRM National Deputy Treasurer, Rubanda District Woman MP Prossy Akampurira Mbabazi and Moses Kamuntu Mwongyera, the Rubanda West County MP among others.       

Kwizera bowed out after about 40 minutes of a scuffle. Meanwhile, government officials led by Vice president Jesica Arupo, Security minister Jim Muhwezi Katugugu, David Bahati, and State Minister for trade joined Prime Minister Robinah Nabanja and Information and guidance minister Chris Baryomunsi on Tuesday to woo support for Kwizera. 

Voting in Bukimbiri is scheduled to take place on Thursday this week. The by-election stems from the court of Appeal's decision to nullify the victory of Kwizera citing irregularities following a successful application by Owebeyi. In his application, Owebeyi argued that although the candidate's photos and party symbols that appeared on ballot papers were genuine, they carried different names. 

The ballot papers carried the names of Arthur Kazoora Atuzarirwe as the NRM flag bearer, Didas Byaruhanga Kagyinda as the FDC flag bearer, and Victor Atwiine and Donzio Kahonda Mugabe as independent candidates yet none of them were from the area.