THE Inspector General of Police Major General Kale Kayihura has issued a directive allowing all presidential candidates to hold their campaign rallies at a venue of their choice.
This follows clashes between the Police and presidential candidate Abed Bwanika of the Peopleâ€™s Development Party (PDP) in Masaka and Lira districts.
The directive was confirmed by Commissioner Steven Ongaria, who chaired the National Electoral Liaison committee at the Electoral Commission headquarters in Kampala.
The committee meets weekly with the representatives of the various political parties to discuss pertinent electoral issues including complaints raised.
â€œThe IGP has issued a directive allowing presidential candidates to hold rallies anywhere in the districts they are supposed to be as per the agreed upon programme. The directive was conveyed by one of the senior officials in the Police,â€ Ongaria stated.
He however regretted that no representative from the Peopleâ€™s Development Party (PDP) headed by Abed Bwanika turned up.
On Monday the Police was asked to bring to the EC committee a report on what transpired between the Police and Bwanika at Masaka.
Bwanika on Tuesday morning briefed the EC boss Eng. Badru Kiggundu on what transpired at Masaka and Lira.
Kiggundu said Bwanika was of the view that the Police deliberately wanted to frustrate him and destabilize his rallies.
â€œI have asked candidate Bwanika to put in writing his complaints because we cannot operate on verbal submissions. Good enough he promised to put the complaint in writing.â€
Ongaria however said that EC officials were wondering why of all the candidates it was only Bwanika clashing with the Police to the extent of removing his coat to fight.
â€œBwanikaâ€™s behavior leaves much to be desired and we advise him to be calm and form advance committees of his supporters who must decide on the best venue to avoid any further clashes.â€
Ongaria said that the Police report shows that in Masaka Bwanika refused to hold his rally at the usual place rallies are held and preferred to have it at the Mayorsâ€™ gardens. â€œIn this case we think the Police was over zealous.â€
In Lira again the usual place for rallies is in the Aki Bua stadium but Bwanika preferred to hold it near the market and police felt it was not a secure place.
â€œMuch as the EC would advise candidates to agree on the most suitable venue with the local authorities and the Police, the IGP has ruled that the presidential candidates be left to hold rallies at venues of their choice.â€ Other cases which were handled involved two in which Jaberi Bidandi Ssali of the Peopleâ€™s Progressive Party (PPP) had his bill board and poster removed by a soldier in Arua.
He said the soldier is on the run but a police case 24/2010 has been opened up. Another incident was in Buyikwe where someone poured water in Bindadiâ€™s public address system.
Candidates free to choose campaign venues-Police