BY Elly Katahinga
Police in Ntungamo Municipality in western Uganda were on Monday forced to use tear gas to disperse rowdy supporters of detained State Minister for Labour, Mwesigwa Rukutana.
Police said on Saturday that they had detained the Ruhsneyi County MP and his three escorts following a shooting incident in Ruhama, Ntungamo district in which one person was seriously injured and a motor vehicle damaged.
His family members and supporters on Monday stormed police on Monday demanding for his release and declare him as a winner of the just concluded NRM primaries in which he lost to Ms Naome Kabasharira, the former Ntungamo Woman MP.
The protesters from all sub counties of Rushenyi County were heard chanting and demanding that charges be dropped and the former deputy attorney general be release.
They vowed to continue the protest against what they described as unlawful and unjust detention and the coercive tactics against the will of majority threatening to defect to the newly formed National Unity Platform (NUP) headed by Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine if President Museveni who is the NRM national chairman does not intervene.
They also accused the Ntungamop District NRM party chairperson who is also the First Lady Janet Kataaha Museveni of manipulating the election process and directing the NRM district registrar, Maria Mirembe to announce the partial results excluding 10 villages which did not handover their results.
“No! No! this is not state house where Janet Kataaha Museveni can direct to announce results in favour of her son Justus Karuhanga and Naome Kabasharira. We implore the public to stand up against the authoritarian government of NRM or we defect to other opposition parties,” one of the protestors shouted.
Armed with banners and placards inscribed with slogans free Mwesigwa Rukutana, our developmental MP, who built churches, mosques, schools, roads and clean water in our area, the protestors appealed to Mr Museveni to ensure a swift investigation and order the release Mr Rukutana.
The Ntungamo DPC, Damian Katwesiime told this reporter that they had to disperse the protestors because they did not seek permission from police to demonstrate.
“We could not allow them to demonstrate because we were not sure of their intentions. Additionally, they did not seek permission for it, so we dispersed them with teargas. Everybody vanished in thin air,” he said.