Top leaders of the National Unity Platform (NUP) and at least two clergymen were allegedly detained by police on Monday, following a crackdown in areas around the head offices of the opposition party in Kampala.
Starting Monday, police and military officials seized NUP head offices in Kamwokya, a day after party leader Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) announced plans to hold prayers and an address to counter national Independence Day celebrations in Northern Uganda.
“We are here to pray for abductees and those killed over politics as well as peace and freedom in our country,” said Joy Mission International Ministries Bishop William Tomusange before he was bundled onto a waiting police vehicle.
Earlier, Kyagulanyi claimed that NUP’s lawmaker spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi, party secretary general David Lewis Rubongoya and another cleric, Pastor Andrew Muwanguzi had also been detained in a mid-morning security operation.
A reporter at the scene said nearly 20 people, including Rubongoya, Ssenyonyi and Bishop Tomusange, were held at Kira Road Police Station but was not certain on the whereabouts of Pastor Muwanguzi and other allegedly held NUP supporters.
“They have categorized us as fools. I’ve been told to come back to police at around 4pm but I heard plans of taking them to Naggalama police,” legislator Betty Nambooze told reporters.
About six female NUP leaders led by Nambooze also demanded the release of the party supporters as they lashed at Ugandan authorities for the “clampdown on their freedoms.”
“How can they arrest people for praying yet they say we are celebrating independence today? They should grant them bond by the end of today or else they will see what we can do,” they jointly said, flanked by opposition Members of Parliament.
Officials from Uganda police and the army were unavailable for a comment- and yet to issue a statement by press time Monday afternoon.
But in Kitgum District, Uganda’s 61st independence anniversary celebrations carried on calmly with President Museveni presiding the event, even as Kyagulanyi addressed a few journalists from his residence in Magere.
Kyagulanyi hinted that NUP was due to resume its nationwide mobilization on Wednesday