Political and opinion leaders in Northern Uganda opposed to presidential hopeful Amama Mbabazi have stepped up efforts to demonize his candidacy, and rallied locals there to shun his campaigns.
The officials led by Aruu County MP Hon Odonga Otto [FDC] on Monday launched a campaign against Amama Mbabazi, who they termed as an enemy of the North.
During the campaign launch at the Northern Uganda Media Club, pharm the leaders stressed that Mbabazi should be the last person to think about consulting and campaigning in Northern Uganda ahead of the 2016 elections, owing to the manner in which he reportedly mismanaged the region’s donor funded reconstruction programme while serving as Prime Minister.
The meeting was attended by former and current local leaders including Kilak County MP, Gilbert Olanya and former Nwoya Member of Parliament Simon Oyet, among others.
The group is planning to hold a peaceful march to Karuma, demanding for the refund of the billions of shillings misappropriated under the watch of Amama Mbabazi in the Office of the Prime Minister, which led to the temporary withdraw of foreign aid from a number of donors in 2013.
About Shs 50 billion meant for the Peace Recovery and Development Fund [PRDP] was stolen between 2011 and 2012.
Parliament however, later cleared Mbabazi all wrongdoing, following President Yoweri Museveni’s intervention through the ruling NRM caucus.
According to MP Odonga Otto’s information to Parliament Shs 600m was diverted from PRDP to buy a Mercedes Benz for then Prime Minister Mbabazi, and another Shs 800m used to armor his Land Cruiser.
Odonga told the meeting today that Mbabazi must refund this money first, before he thinks of stepping a foot in the North to drum for support.
According to Mbabazi’s program for consulting his supporters released last week, he will be visiting a number of districts in the region, starting with Moroto in Karamoja sub-region on July 11 and Lira on July 13.
Otto had earlier warned that if Mbabazi insisted on going to Northern Uganda, the people there would have to take the law in their hands.
He went ahead to call upon all locals in the region, not to vote Mbabazi or any other person that was implicated in the PRDP scandal.
Meanwhile in Gulu town, a group of youths reportedly took to the streets protesting against Mbabazi’s candidacy.
The youths donning yellow shirts and carrying “Amama Mbabazi Coffin” peacefully marched through the streets of Gulu town, without interruption and were reportedly escorted by Police.
Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga, told us he had not been briefed about the procession, but added it was likely they acquired permission from Police.
“At the moment I cannot confirm if they were cleared by Police but if they were; then there is nothing wrong with the procession. Everyone is free to lawfully express their conscience,” he said.