Family members of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) this morning came out to dispute the official story told by authorities about the Monday scuffle that marked the final campaigns ahead of today’s parliamentary by-elections in Arua Municipality.
The clashes culminated in the death of one of the assistants of Hon Kyagulanyi, Mr Yasin Kawuma, who was shot in the chest, and the arrest of several MPs and journalists.
Police and President Yoweri Museveni also accused supporters of one of the contestants, Kassiano Wadri (for whom detained MPs were campaigning) of smashing the rear glass window of the President’s Toyota Land Cruiser with stones.
But Hon Bobi Wine’s brother, Fred Nyanzi, who was in Arua and was among the detainees, says the official account of the events was inaccurate.
He particularly described the account by the Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima as “false” and that of the president as “partially incorrect.”
Nyanzi says over the last couple of days before the clashes, he was in Arua and he was traveling in the very vehicle, – a Tundra, in which the late Kawuma was killed.
But on Monday, he says he decided to use another vehicle a Toyota Land Cruiser which also belongs to his brother Bobi Wine.
According to President Museveni in a statement he issued Wednesday morning, the late Kawuma was “one of the attackers” (the supporters of the Mr Kassiano Wadri), who went on attacking and beating people who were coming from the NRM rally.
This crowd, which he said was moving with a tinga tinga (a grader), proceeded to town and “injured quite a number of people with stones.”
Police spokesperson Kayima on the other hand, in a statement said the group with the grader was led by MPs Bobi Wine, Francis Zaake, Paul Mwiru, Gerald Karuhanga and former MP Mike Mabikke.
The group he said “obstructed and violently attacked the Presidential motorcade at Prison Cell in Arua Municipality.”
Kayima says it was in this scuffle, as security forces struggled to restore calm, that Mr Kawuma as shot dead.
But Nyanzi, while addressing press, said at the time Kawuma was shot, he seated in the parked Tundra at a hotel, a couple of Kilometres away from the rally venue.
Nyanzi says he, together with candidate Kassiano, the arrested journalists and MPs were at this very hotel, having marched peacefully with supporters from their rally.
“We arrived with supporters from the rally at Wadri’s office, and he bid us farewell and told us to go start preparing for the election. We left and went to the hotel where all vehicles parked, including the Tundra,” he said.
“At this time, the late Kawuma was sitting in the seat (passenger seat) in the Tundra. Sometimes Bobi Wine sits in the same spot. The driver of this car is called Njuba.”
At the Hotel, Nyanzi says Wadri and his team ordered for tea while he grabbed a soda.”
Later on, he says, he stepped outside to call the Tundra to take him to his hotel.
“As I stepped outside to call the driver, Wadri called me and we started chatting. As we were chatting, gunshots started ringing. These we believe were the shots that killed Kawuma.”
He added, “Immediately there was teargas all over the place, the entire hotel was in chaos, and we ran and started hiding in the rooms together with Mike Mabikke, Sam Lubega and others.”
“The (officers) came checking the rooms and they found us. They took me down stairs and started beating me. Others started beating some NTV and BBS reporters.
“One of the officers then hit me with a blunt object which knocked me out. I woke up in a hospital together with Sebuufu, who told me that they brought me here because they feared I could die in the police cell.”
After receiving treatment, Nyanzi says he was driven and detained briefly at two different places, and later in the morning he was placed in a truck and driven back to Kampala.
Nyanzi went on to describe the accounts provided by the authorities as shocking.
During the press conference which was attended by all family members, these said they were worried about the life of their brother, Bobi Wine.
The eldest brother Stephen Sentamu Makumbi said the family members weren’t sure whether their brother was dead or alive.
He called on Parliament to intervene to ensure that the MP and his colleagues are released or formally charged and allowed access to their family members and lawyers.
Police says all detained MPs are still in their custody, although there were reports that some of them are being held in military facilities.