Tension is mounting in Kinoni town board in Bukoto South following the confiscation of laptops and tent belonging to Mukono Municipality Member of Parliament Betty Nambooze.
On Tuesday evening, police stormed Total Petrol Station in Kinoni along Masaka-Mbarara Highway where Nambooze had set up a tent to from where to monitor voting in Bukoto South Parliamentary by-election. The tent was to be used as a tally centre for the Democratic Party, whose Secretary General, Mathias Nsubuga, is a candidate.
MP Nambooze together with about 60 youths had erected the rent to use it as a base to monitor polling stations in Kiseka Sub County.
Police, however, stormed the base on Wednesday night, forcefully closed and evicted Nambooze and her group. The police then pulled the tent down and confiscated it. They also seized two laptops and some of Nambooze’s belongings including mattresses leaving her stranded.
Charles Obella, the Southern Region Field Force Unit Commander, says they confiscated the tent and other belongings after getting information that Nambooze and her group planned to set the Petrol station on fire.
He claims that police decided to confiscate it because MP Nambooze did not seek permission from the owners of Total Petrol station before establishing their base.
Obella has however refused to disclose where the confiscated items are. But on Wednesday morning, Nambooze, Mathias Nsubuga, and dozens of their supporters stormed Kinoni police station demanding for the immediate release of their items.
Nambooze accused police of confiscating their items with the intention of sabotaging their plans of monitoring the polls. She says she is going to mobilize thousands of DP youths to forcefully remove her items from police if they don’t hand them back willingly. She claims that the confiscation of their items forced them to sleep outside and it has stalled their work.
// Cue in: I had camped here…….
Cue out:……that is where we are.”//
Nsubuga has dismissed police allegations that Nambooze and her group wanted to set the petrol station on fire. Nsubuga, who is still camping at the police station, says Nambooze sought permission from the petrol station management and there is no way they would set it on fire.
Jonathan Baroza, the Lwengo district police commander, has declined to comment on why police refused to release the confiscated items.
At the time of filling this report, police had deployed heavily around Kinoni. Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police, has also arrived in Kinoni to defuse possible violence in the area.
Four candidates are contesting in the Bukoto South by-elections slated for tomorrow. They are Mathias Nsubuga of DP, Dan Katula Mubiru an Independent candidate, Julius Ssentamu of FDC and John Alintuma Nsambu of NRM. All candidates are finalizing their campaigns today before they go to the polls.
The Bukoto South seat fell vacant two months ago after the Court of Appeal nullified Muhammad Mbabaali Muyanja’s election for lacking requisite academic qualifications.