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National Unity Platform -NUP and Democratic Party-DP officials in Kyotera are living in fear following the arrest of their campaign agents, strategists and supporters by unidentified operatives. They include among others Sam Kiwanuka Lukyamuzi, Vincent Musajja, Sulaiti Kyambadde, Ronald Muwonge and Andrew Kawuma.
The others have only been identified as Lusembo, Kasiita, Luyobya among others. The party officials say their members were picked up from their respective homes by unidentified security personnel on Friday, Saturday, Sunday last week and Monday this week.
Charles Kirumira Lwanga, the Kyotera County NUP Parliamentary candidate, says their members were picked up by armed operatives in uniform and some in plain-clothes who were travelling in two numberless Toyota Hiace Drone-vans took them to an unknown location.
Although they suspect that the operation is state engineered, Kirumira and the families of the opposition members, say they tried to trace for their relatives at Kyotera and Kalisizo police stations in vain. Kirumira, also, the NUP coordinator in Greater Masaka Region, says they have lodged a complaint at Kyotera police station and the regional police headquarters in Masaka over their missing members.
He says the incident has left the majority of opposition politicians and supporters worried about what might happen to them during and after elections. Kirumira says the mysterious disappearance and unexplained arrests may disorganize the party’s campaigns but cannot affect the outcomes since they have canvassed votes and are sure of victory.
Henry Ssemakula, one of the lead DP campaigners Kyotera, says that they are worried because they do not know who will be picked next since police have no clue about who is behind the abductions.
He says that they visited the homes of some campaigners where they found several properties destroyed and bloodstains on the floor, which caused more fear.
Ssemakula says that most of the missing people have families to look after and keeping them incommunicado hinders candidates’ support.
While closing their joint rally at Kasambya playground in Kyotera town council, Patrick Kintu Kisekulo, the incumbent Kyotera LC 5 Chairperson and John Paul Mpalanyi, the DP candidate for Kyotera County Parliamentary seat, condemned the acts of violence on the opposition.
Mpalanyi says abductions of their supporters is unbecoming and threatens democracy in society.
Judith Akello, the Kyotera District police commander, says they had not received any information about the abductions until when the concerned politicians reported the matter.
She says police were not part of the operation that led to the arrests, saying they are also investigating the whereabouts of missing persons.