Presidential hopeful and National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert aka Bobi Wine has said Police and Military have taken all documents needed to secure his presidential nomination.
Police and other security agencies were on Wednesday seen breaking into NUP’s Headquarters in Kamwokya, a Kampala surbub.
Mr Kyagulanyi told the media that he fled his office when dozens of armed soldiers and police arrived to carry out a search.
He alleged that the state is doing everything possible to thwart his challenge to President Yoweri Museveni in the 2021 election.
Although Police was yet to comment on the alleged missing documents, they said the raid was never politically motivated.
Before Bobi Wine spoke about the missing papers, police spokesman Fred Enanga had told the BBC the raid was due to an investigation into misuse of military and police stores. The government has outlawed red berets – a trademark of Mr. Kyagulanyi’s people power movement and lately NUP as well as other pieces of military wear.
“It’s not political. We are carrying out operations on misuse of some of the uniforms and accoutrements,” Mr Enanga said.
Mr. Kyagulanyi had earlier said that red berets were also seized during the raid.
The Kyadondo East MP is facing charges which rights groups say are politically motivated.
One of the requirements to run for election is to have signatures of support from 100 registered voters from at least two-thirds of Uganda’s districts.
Mr. Kyagulanyi and NUP officials had said the party had already collected 6 million signatures, but that these are missing from his party’s offices.
“Museveni’s government is trying to block me from nominating as a presidential candidate,” he told the BBC in an interview on Wednesday.
“From questioning my academic credentials, to questioning my age, now they are making every effort to frustrate my nomination and I want to believe that is why they took the signatures away.”
When he was asked about the status of his aspirations of ending Mr Museveni’s 34 years in power, he said: “We’re not giving up.”
“We have immediately communicated to our branches to ensure they start collecting the signatures immediately and hopefully by Friday we’re going to have the required signatures,” he said.
When asked for a response, the BBC said a spokesperson for Uganda’s Electoral Commission declined to comment on the alleged missing documents, but added that the deadline can be extended for candidates if they raise the issue with the commission officially.
Mr Kyagulanyi also said the soldiers ran away with other party valuables including money that was meant to facilitate some of the aspiring Members of Parliament who are supposed to be nominated on Thursday and Friday this week.
“After the criminals left our offices, the team has just finished making an assessment of what has been stolen in broad daylight. I have been informed that most of our forms with signatures for nominations have been taken away! They have also taken 23 million shillings, part of which was meant to facilitate our parliamentary candidates with nomination fees,” Mr Kyagulanyi said in a tweet.
He added, “they have also taken so many of our branding materials including posters, banners, berets, t-shirts, pens, notebooks, etc. Our CCTV cameras have been vandalised and equipment taken away. Some comrades have been arrested and are being held at Kira Road police station. I have also been informed that so many of our people who are selling NUP branding materials in town are being arrested with reckless abandon.”
Last year, Mr Kyagulanyi was charged with intending to “alarm, annoy or ridicule” the president. He was also charged with inciting violence after being accused of calling on his supporters to physically harm the president.
On Friday, October 16, 2020 Mr. Kyagulanyi and his team will be in high court awaiting a ruling expected to determine the rightful owners of the National Unity Platform.
Mr Kyagulanyi is being accused by Mr Nkonge Kibalama of illegally assuming the leadership of the party but MP insists these are all state managed plans to deter him from challenging Mr Museveni.