There was a scuffle between Eddie Kwizera Wagahungu, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party candidate, and his Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) rival, James Owebeyi Mugyemani, on Monday afternoon over a campaign venue in Rubuguri town council, Kisoro district.
The two are running in the Bukimbiri county by-elections. According to the Electoral Commission campaign schedule, Kwizera was booked to campaign in Kirundo sub-county while Owebeyi was supposed to campaign in Rubuguri town council.
Independent candidates Asgario Turyagyenda and Edward Mutabazi were scheduled to campaign in Bukimbiri sub-county. However, as Owebeyi was campaigning in Nyabaremura trading center in Nyabaremura ward at around 03:35 PM, the Ryakarimira town council town clerk in Kabale district, Brian Twasiima, and Joseph Awor, an escort to Henry Ariganyira Musasizi, the State Minister for Finance in Charge of General Duties, showed up in a finance ministry vehicle with registration number UG 0800F and started patrolling the areas.
This angered FDC officials led by Owebeyi, who was accompanied by Patrick Amuriat Oboi, the FDC president and the former Rukungiri Municipality member of parliament, Roland Mugume Kagyinda. The FDC leaders and supporters demanded an explanation of why Twasiima and Awor were patrolling their rallies.
They chased the dou and proceeded with their rally. However, after about ten minutes, Kwizera led a procession including the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabanja; Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister for Information and National Guidance; Henry Ariganyira Musasizi, the State Minister for Finance in charge of General Duties; Sarah Mateke Nyirabashitsi, the State Minister in charge of youth and children; Jackeline Kyatuheire, NRM National Deputy Treasurer; Rubanda District Woman MP; Prossy Akampurira Mbabazi; and Moses Kamuntu Mwongyera, the Rubanda West county MP, among others.
The convoy stopped and Kwizera, Baryomunsi, Kyatuheire, and Kwizera came out of the vehicle to address the FDC rally. They, however, received a very cold welcome as some FDC leaders, led by Owebeyi, turned rowdy, demanding an explanation as to why Kwizera and his people were disrupting his rally.
The police officers were guarding the NRM team engaged in chasing the FDC members who had started moving toward Baryomunsi, Kwizera, and Kyatuheire. After about 20 minutes, Kwizera and his crew drove toward Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
At exactly 04:46 PM, FDC supporters arrived at Rubuguri playground in the center of Rubuguri town council only to find a police helicopter, registration number 5X-MAG, surrounded by police and soldiers, who turned them away. Owebeyi, Kagyinda, and Amuriat demanded an explanation of why the FDC supporters were being chased away from the playground and why the helicopter landed there in vain.
After about 20 minutes, the helicopter left the ground as FDC members decried the impunity of the NRM officials. Owebeyi wondered why Kwizera and his crew forced themselves into Rubuguri town council yet they were supposed to be in another area.
Oboi says that what Kwizera and his crew have done is an indication of impunity and stupidity because there is no reason to storm another candidate’s rally.
Kwizera told our reporter that he was only heading to his campaign rally in Kirundo and declined to divulge more about the matter. Voting in Bukimbiri is scheduled to take place on August 11, 2022. The by-election stems from the Court of Appeal’s decision to nullify the victory of Kwizera, citing irregularities following a successful application by Owebeyi.
In his application, Owebeyi argued that although the candidate’s photos and party symbols that appeared on ballot papers were genuine, they carried different names. The ballot papers carried the names of Arthur Kazoora Atuzarirwe as the NRM flag bearer, Didas Byaruhanga Kagyinda as the FDC flag bearer, and Victor Atwiine and Donzio Kahonda Mugabe as independent candidates, yet none of them were from the area.