FDC Members Accuse Police of Infringing on their Political Rights

Members of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in Kasese district have accused the local police of violating their right to freedom of expression and association. It follows the botched attempt by the police to prevent FDC leaders and members from attending a graduation ceremony for the “Save a Mother Skill Centre”.

The ceremony celebrated the graduation of 160 young mothers who had acquired hand skills in hairdressing and tailoring with the support of the district’s woman member of parliament, Florence Kabugho. FDC members claim that police blocked their access to Kasese Booma Grounds on Tuesday where the event was held.

After a prolonged confrontation, FDC members managed to overpower the police and gained access to the event. Saulo Maate, the Kasese FDC district chairperson, denounced the police’s actions as dictatorial and unacceptable to the party leadership.

Kasese Woman MP, Florence Kabugho, deemed the security forces’ actions unfortunate, recalling a similar incident when she donated an ambulance to the district last year, where her counterparts from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) were provided protection. She emphasized that supporting the government’s call to skill youths was not a fault.

William Nzoghu, the FDC western region vice president, pledged the party’s resolve to resist police interference and to contribute to the noble cause of development.  “They closed our gates there even before the chief guest could enter, but we shall not allow this to continue…” Nzoghu noted.

Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda, the FDC chief whip in parliament, vowed to raise the issue of police interference on the parliament floor, decrying the regularity with which police block opposition gatherings.

Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the party’s secretary-general, applauded Kabugho for prioritizing the improvement of young mothers’ lives and promised that FDC would persist in demanding a fair political field to deliver services.

Kabugho emphasized that skilling young mothers aimed to alleviate their numerous financial challenges in raising their children.

The Rwenzori East Police spokesperson, Nelson Tumushiime, says that police didn’t try to block the graduation but to ensure there is security and safety of all the people. He notes that the police are always open to working with anyone irrespective of their political affiliation.

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