Police yesterday Sunday, raided the offices of Mr Charles Yakani, one of the contestants for the Koboko Constituency parliamentary seat and seized boxes of campaign materials of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), amid fury from the ruling party supporters.
The Police, backed by scores of youthful NRM supporters stormed the offices of Mr Yakani — an FDC leaning independent candidate — and conducted a search in which they recovered 14 boxes of President Yoweri Museveni T-shirts as well as 100 copies of the NRM manifesto.
It emerged that the materials were handed to Mr Yakani by the State Minister for Privatization Hon Evelyn Anite, who supports him to beat the NRM flag bearer Charles Ayume in next year’s general elections.
Minister Anite lost to Mr Ayume in the September NRM primaries 8,089 to 7,321 votes.
The NRM supporters led by the party district chairperson Lucy Afako were angered to hear that the minister gave out the party campaign materials to an independent rather than the party candidate, Mr Ayume.
Speaking to ChimpReports this morning, Ms Afako reported that during the office raid, Minister Anite arrived and attempted to halt the search and commandeer the evidence from the police, but was stopped by the NRM supporters.
“Security followed the issue right from Kampala to the ground and we surrounded the place where those things were kept. We waited for him (Yakani) until he came and he was ordered to open the door and the materials were recovered,” Afako said in a phone interview.
“In the meantime the minister was busy quarreling and abusing the security but we insisted and we picked the materials.”
“She (Anite) told us that we were wasting our time and that she was going to bring another truckload of materials and give them to the independent candidate.”
When reached this morning for a comment, Minister Anite told this reporter that she only intervened in the search to “stop the rubbish that the police were doing, impounding the president’s posters”
“Aren’t independents allowed to campaign for Mzee?” she asked.
“The candidate (Yakani) was initially FDC but he is an independent and no one can stop him from supporting or even joining the NRM.”
Pressed on why she delivered the campaign materials to an independent rather that the NRM Candidate, Anite said she was only doing her job as a mobilizer.
“He is willing to carry the president’s manifesto and take the president’s message to everyone and as a mobiliser, my job is mobilizing those in opposition not those who are within. The police did not have a right to stop him from choosing a candidate of his choice,” she said.
Following her loss in the NRM party primaries, Anite came out and launched a reconciliation campaign to rally other members who lost in the primaries to support the party flag bearers and further the NRM agenda.
However, when we asked her today if she would promise to support the NRM candidate in Koboko, Anite said she would not.
“I cannot reassure anyone that I will support (him) Ayume; I only assure them that I support President Museveni. I am not under any obligation to support any candidate, it is freedom of choice,” she said.