Anti-riot police on Tuesday, September 19, used teargas to disperse top members of Kizza Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party at a parallel national delegates conference (NDC) at Katonga.
The NDC was being organized by party chairman Wasswa Birigwa. Initially, the NDC was planned to be in Busabala but it was shifted to Katonga Road offices as police blocked access to the initial venue.
Police had also blocked roads leading to Katonga, as the officers engaged party delegates in running battles.
FDC is the party of Uganda’s opposition politician Kizza Besigye, who had vied for the presidency several times unsuccessfully.
Additional anti-riot police officers were also witnessed around Besigye’s offices at Katonga.
According to FDC members, security was beefed in Katonga, an alleged hotspot for a parallel delegates meeting.
“Unfortunately, police who said they will not provide protection have driven three trucks and blocked roads in Busabala,” said Ibrahim Ssemujju, the FDC spokesperson.
The heavy police deployment follows a court ruling on Monday, September 18, which had termed the FDC conference illegal.
Ssemujju explained that delegates will have to find alternative routes to Busabala or use another venue after police blocked the roads.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that some FDC officials were using the police to intimidate delegates in an attempt to enable President Museveni to control the party.
“The FDC people want to rescue their party from Mafabi and Amuriat who are paid agents of President Museveni,” noted the party spokesperson during an interview.
Patrick Amuriat is the FDC president while Nathan Mafabi is the party secretary general.
Ssemujju has emphasized that the conference will go on despite the heavy police presence, adding that the delegates’ conference was funded by members and Ugandans in the diaspora.
However, FDC western region chairman Sunday Katembeya acknowledged that delegates were fearing the police but were determined to ensure the conference proceeded as planned.