Police chief, Kale Kayihura, says it was Amama Mbabazi’s fault that police teargassed him and his supporters at the Jinja rally last week.
“An aspiring leader must be responsible,” Kayihura noted at a joint press conference with the Electoral Commission on Saturday.
“Police comes in when rights and freedoms of a society are violated,” he noted.
Kayihura revealed that a hotel owner in Jinja called him on hosting Mbabazi.
“I said, “why not?” We facilitated Mbabazi meeting at that place.”
Kayihura further pointed out that while consulting, it means one hasn’t reached a firm decision to stand for president.
“Consultations mean exchange of views quietly. Why the hurry for campaigns?”
He accused Mbabazi of creating unnecessary tension reminding the former Prime Minister that time will come for campaigns hence no need for rushing.
“Mbabazi must hold consultative meetings in confined place so that they don’t degenerate into rallies and campaigns.”
Kayihura says the traders in Jinja were opposed to Mbabazi rallies because they suffered under walk-to-work riots led by then FDC president, Col Kizza Besigye.
“He [Mbabazi] should not defy police,” Kayihura pointed out, adding, “Mbabazi wanted to have two rallies including one in a market in Jinja. He wanted to build up mass of supporters from Iganga.”
The police chief says they didn’t anticipate Mbabazi meetings to degenerate into a rally.
“I should have asked for specifics. His is like a full blown campaign.”
Speaking at the Meeting with presidential aspirants at EC headquarters along Jinja road on Monday, Kayihura repeated his warning to Mbabazi saying police have powers to disperse illegal assemblies.
“They must be lawful. Why put rally in a market? Crime prevention is provided by law.”
“Mbabazi should stop creating situations and blame us for the consequences (on teargas in Jinja).”
“Why aren’t aspiring leaders responsible? Why did Mbabazi organise a rally in a market and near school in Jinja?” the police chief asked.
He said Mbabazi planned public rallies in northern Uganda are in violation of President Elections Act and won’t be tolerated.
“Mbabazi is a clever lawyer, trying to use public meetings for campaigns which are not authorised at this stage.”
“Mbabazi is the one who introduced idea of town hall meetings. He is turning consultations into open campaigns.”