The Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development Frank Tumwebaze has called on Police to arrest National Resistance Movement (NRM) agents gathering crowds or any other individual doing the same irrespective of political affiliation.
Tumwebaze, who was appearing on NBS on Wednesday, was tasked to explain why the police has dispersed crowds of opposition politicians while those of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party are given a leeway to hold processions and mass gatherings in the current election period.
“Police should arrest them. Police should arrest whoever is violating COVID-19 guidelines whether NRM, whether which party, they should be arrested. The health and safety of Ugandans does not speak parties. It does not speak political colors. COVID-19 will not spare you,” said Tumwebaze.
Although the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni who is the NRM flag bearer has insisted on not holding mass campaign rallies, his supporters and agents have continued to hold mass gatherings and processions to show him support.
The Electoral Commission banned all mass campaign rallies and declared a “scientific election” where campaign should be conducted through the media in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked why he unlike some other NRM candidates has not defied COVID-19 guidelines, Tumwebaze said leaders should “respect the law.”
“Why are COVID-19 numbers skyrocketing? Because of this crisscrossing of people moving around. Me from the word go, I told my agents, I told my supporters that we shall use radio, we shall use social media. Let us abide by the law,” he said.
Commenting about some politicians who say they do not invite supporters for rallies but rather the people gather themselves and overwhelm the contenders due to election excitement, Tumwebaze said “a leader must lead people. You must have the ability to influence them.”
On the other hand, Tumwebaze lashed at opposition presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu of National Unity Platform (NUP) for “promising a new Uganda” while gathering masses and putting them at the risk of contracting COVID-19.
“You cannot claim to be a leader; you cannot claim that you want to bring a new Uganda when you don’t care about the lives of the people. All you care about is people to clap for you, to enjoy you, to lift you by their shoulders. Do you want to lead people when they are dead?” He asked.
“COVID-19 was not a creation of Byabakama (Electoral Commission chairman) or NRM Government that is running Uganda. COVID-19 is a global issue. It is a pandemic.”
Kyagulanyi and other opposition politicians such as Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party presidential candidate Patrick Amuriat Oboi have consistently denied COVID-19 guidelines by holding mass campaign rallies on grounds that their opponents on NRM side are doing the same.