Kalungu By-election: DP Deploys Vigilante Groups, Ssewungu Summoned to explain
As residents of Kalungu District go to polls to elect a Local Council Five Chairperson this morning, the opposition Democratic Party (DP) has deployed dozens of Vigilante Groups to oversee the exercise.
This is despite police warning DP leaders against deploying politicians who are not residents of Kalungu district. On Wednesday, Lameck Kigozi, the Masaka region Police spokesperson warned that any organized groups trying to infiltrate the electoral process without authorization, will be arrested.
“We have intelligence information that mobilization is going on by some organizations to ferry in goons to come and intimidate and disorganize these elections. We are not going to give room to this. We advise anybody who could have been deceived to come and interfere with electoral process in Kalungu to not dare do so” Kigozi warned.
The by-election has attracted four candidates; Emmanuel Musoke of Democratic Party, David Lubombo Busaggwa and Mathias Kintu Musoke both Independent candidates and Richard Kyabaggu, the National Resistance Movement party candidate.
Kalungu West Legislator Joseph Ssewungu, also Emmanuel Musoke's Chief campaign strategist, says they have deployed hundreds of vigilante groups to guard against vote rigging.
He explains that one of the vigilante groups deployed is named Benghazi Group located in Nyendo in Masaka Municipality. Members of this particular group took part in the Walk to Work protests in 2011. It appears they named the group after a city in the northeastern Libya where an uprising started in 2011 that eventually led to the war that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi. Another group is named Solidarity.
Hon. Ssewungu says each of the five sub counties and the town councils has been given a special vigilante group with its leader.
In Kalungu Town council, the Benghazi Group is headed by MP Mathias Mpuuga of Masaka Municipality. He says each polling station has at least ten people around besides the polling agents.
MP Mpuuga says the vigilante groups have been given strict instructions to monitor the polling, protect the votes and escort them from polling stations to sub county and to the final tally centre.
In Lukaya town council and Bukulula Sub County, the solidarity group is headed by Masaka District Woman MP Mary Babirye Kabanda and MP Florence Namayanja of Bukoto East.
In Lwabenge Sub County, MP Ssempala Kigozi of Makindye-Ssabagabo Municipality and his team are manning the process. A group of muscular men from Makindye who are wearing Green and White T-shirts have been seen monitoring the polling stations ahead of the voting exercise.
Police has however summoned MP Joseph Ssewungu to record a statement for allegedly planning to disrupt the polling exercise.
Lameck Kigozi says police summoned Ssewungu for planning to destabilize the polling exercise. He, however, could not explain the electoral laws MP Ssewungu has broken.
However, MP Medard Lubega Ssegona, Ssewungu and Musoke's lawyer advised them not to go to police. He says his clients cannot just go to police over flimsy and vague cases.
MP Ssegona, who represents Busiro East, says police has erred in issuing criminal summons. He says a Member of Parliament must be summoned through the Speaker of Parliament. He says police should wait until the election is over since the police summons is only intended to waste their time.
Police has deployed 1000 officers and men to ensure a peaceful polling exercise in Kalungu, according to Lameck Kigozi Southern Region Police spokesman.