By RAJAB MUKOMBOZI
MBARARA- Teargas has engulfed Nyamiyaga, Kibarama Bugamba Sub-county as former Rwampara MP, Mr Vincent Mujuni Kyamadidi announced his defection from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), to the Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
Mr Kyamadidi who lost his seat to Mr Charles Ngabirano in in 2016 general elections.
Mr Kyamadidi and his team who were planning to hold several rallies in Bugamba Sub-county to officially announce his defection but was intercepted by police at Nyamiyaga Trading Centre, a few metres to Nyamiyanga Market where they were scheduled to have a rally.
The police blocked the road and surrounded the venue of the rally to deny them access.
He was accompanied by FDC President Mr Patrick Amurait Oboi, former FDC President, Dr Kizza Besigye, Buhweju MP, Mr Francis Mwijukye; Kawempe South MP, Mr Mubarak Munyagwa and FDC Secretary for Mobilisation, Ms Ingrid Turinawe.
However, the standoff attracted hundreds of people forcing police to use teargas to disperse the swelling crowd.
Mbarara District Police Commander, Mr Jaffer Magyezi said Mr Kyamadidi and group were breaking the Public order Management Act since they had not informed police about their plans and programme.
“Some of you are MPs. You are aware of the law you are trying to break but we cannot allow you. You know the law but you have chosen defiance and we will not allow you. You can go to the venue but I will not allow any of the locals to join you,” Mr Magyezi said.
But Mr Mwijukye produced a March 28, 2018 to the Inspector General of Police indicating that they were planning to hold mobilization rallies in Mbarara on April 5, 2018, adding that the police officer was acting out of ignorance.
“What you are doing is out of ignorance, do you know FDC is a registered party and that we informed police of the activities we will be carrying out in this area today, you are the one instead breaking the law,” Mr Mwijkukye said.
Mr Magyezi, however, warned residents not to go to the venue because they would face consequences.
Mr Kyamadidi and his group went and sat in a empty tent which had been erected at the venue.
The ex-MP and his visiting team, later addressed residents about 200 meters from the blocked venue.
“I had come to officially tell you that I have crossed to FDC, where I have high hopes bringing fundamental change in this country, they rigged, battered us and thought we were finished,” he said. “They thought our resolve for justice and good governance had been snatched but this is unstoppable. If the revolution to liberate this country is to happen, it will start here in Bugamba,” Mr Kyamadidi said.
FDC President Mr Amuriat said Mr Kyamadidi is an asset not only to FDC but to the liberation of the country from bondage and dictatorship.
Dr Besigye said the determination and resolve of Ugandans are indicators that they are ready to liberate their country.
“We will not go back to the bush as Museveni did, but with your determination and courage, this country will be liberated from dictators. You have shown this courage today that despite police threats and teargas you remained determined, we are encouraged and we will win,” Dr Besigye said.
He said Mr Kyamadidi’s defection to FDC was a wise decision in the fight for democracy and equality of all Ugandans.
Mr Kyamadidi said what police is doing is a waste of time because he will move to all households and public places like churches to preach the message of democracy and the rule of law.
Mr Kyamadidi joined Parliament in 2011. He was once suspended by the NRM party for being among rebel MPs.