Joel Ssenyonyi, the spokesperson of the National Unity Platform party (NUP) has accused security operatives who raided the political party’s headquarters in Kamwokya, Kampala, this Wednesday of taking away “sensitive documents.”
Ssenyonyi told reporters at the party headquarters after the security operation that a number of useful party documents, including seven million signatures of Robert Kyagulanyi’s presidential bid and forms of some of their parliamentary aspirants which had been brought to the party Secretary General for signing, were taken.
A joint security force comprising detectives, intelligence personnel, anti-riot police and military police stormed NUP’s headquarters this morning.
ChimpReports could not substantiate Ssenyonyi’s claims about the particulars of the documents recovered from NUP’s headquarters.
What we know is Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine intended to take his presidential nomination forms, including endorsement signatures collected from different parts of the country, to the Electoral Commission soon.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the security operation was “Targeting all locations illegally manufacturing, supplying, distributing, selling and using uniforms and accoutrements whose ownership and patented designs was gazetted and an exclusive preserve of the armed forces.”
Ssenyonyi said the raid was a clear sign that the government is under fear, “a clear indication that we have pressed harder and what we just need to do is to continue with the pressing.”
“Some of the MP aspirants like myself are expecting to be nominated tomorrow so they wanted to arrest us and we miss the nominations. They also took the CCTV cameras and others,” he said
“As the party, we are waiting for police official statement on this matter, we are going to sit with our lawyers and announce the next move. On the issue of signatures, we are sure Ugandans who signed the forms will sign them again. All their aim is preventing Bobi Wine from appearing on the ballot paper which is impossible at this time because we shall do each and everything,” he noted.
He noted that the party had already contacted their mobilisers for new signatures.
In 2019, Uganda’s armed forces threatened to prosecute people found in possession of military accessories, insignia, decoration and uniform – including the red beret used as a symbol of the opposition movement, People Power.
“The dress code for the UPDF has been gazetted,” said then Defence spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire.
“The action was endorsed by the top organs of the army which also commended the dress committee for concluding the task assigned to it years back. This development is a milestone in the long history of the UPDF,” he added.
According to the Uganda Gazette of September 18, 2019, “members of the public are hereby informed that unless granted authority by a competent military authority it is prohibited to sell, offer, or expose for sale, wear or use any uniform so nearly resembling the uniform of the defence forces and likely to deceive the public.”
The People Power’s party uniform is a red shirt, black trousers and a red beret.
Bobi Wine rejected the military’s warning and vowed to continue using the Red Beret.
Ssenyonyi today said police “also took CCTV Cameras, DR recorders and many more things, which we are yet to establish.”
Officials told ChimpReports that they recovered unauthorized attire resembling the uniform of security forces and also the ruling party, NRM’s yellow t-shirts.
President Museveni recently blasted what he described as Bobi’s foreign supporters.
“Greetings to your foreign backers who fear a strong Uganda,” Museveni told Bobi in a social media message in August 2020, adding, “Too bad for them.”
Museveni didn’t mention names but several high profile figures in United States and Europe have publicly expressed support for Bobi’s presidential bid.
Bobi’s diaspora-based lawyer, Robert Amsterdam today slammed security forces for raiding NUP’s offices.
“Uganda Police and Military have cordoned off People Power offices in Kampala. They’re arresting every in the vicinity including Bobi Wine who was at the scene. Red berets which Uganda army recently gazetted as its uniform have also been confiscated. Several battered,” Tweeted Amsterdam.
William Ntege alias Kyuma Kya Yesu, one of the eyewitness who observed the security search, said security officials climbed in the sealing of the office of the NUP president, searching for him.
“They broke into his offices, cut off the CCTV cameras, DR recorders and others climbed up. We asked them what they wanted but just told us that they had sensed danger at this place (NUP),” he said.
“They just presented the search certificate which does not have a provision where the witnesses’ names and signatures are written,” he added.
“We are sure they wanted our president but we whisked him away as soon as the raid started,” he said.
Kasim Sagala Agalamide, another witness, said the security raid aimed at capturing Bobi Wine.
“They took each and everything we had including t-shirts, berets, badges and so many more. We condemn such acts and we are sure there are informers amongst us but we shall identify them,” said Agalamide.