Kampala. Security forces and Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, and his supporters last evening set the stage for possible collision today after disagreeing on the legislator’s homecoming programme.
In Kampala, evidence of tension was palpable. Long columns of soldiers could be seen patrolling streets in the inner city and demonstration-prone neighbourhoods.
Highly-placed sources told this newspaper that senior officers from police, army, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Internal Security Organisation and military police met at the Kampala Central Police Station boardroom last evening to work out finer deployment plans to ensure law and order prevails.
Details of their discussions were scanty by press time.
Mr Kyagulanyi, who flew out to the US about three weeks ago ostensibly for specialised medical care, is expected to land at Entebbe International Airport aboard Kenyan Airways plane at about 12.30pm today.
Police early yesterday banned any processions for the MP’s homecoming and said they would pick him from the airport, offer security and deliver him directly to his home in Magere, Wakiso District.
In a written statement read by police spokesperson Emilian Kayima, the Force said they would only allow the MP’s immediate family to receive him on arrival and that no one has notified the Force for a crowd event as required under the Public Order Management Act.
“He will be availed security from the airport to his home. Police will further ensure law and order [for] all road users. There shall be no unlawful rallies, processions and assemblies,” Mr Kayima said.
However, shortly after the police pronouncement, Mr Kyagulanyi, who was at the time at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, tweeted and posted on his Facebook page messages denouncing the directive.
“I am wondering why these police officers allow themselves to descend so low. They now want to decide who picks me and where I go upon arrival! Well, for your information, no single family member will receive me at the airport; this impunity must stop now,” he wrote.
The MP’s lawyers Mr Nicholas Opiyo, Mr Asuman Basalirwa and Mr Andrew Karamagi, at a separate press conference in the city’s upscale Kololo neighbourhood, announced that they would instead be at the airport in person to receive him because he is still a “suspect”.
Mr Kyagulanyi’s supporters and relatives also said their parallel arrangements will go on as planned.
“We shall receive Bobi Wine at home [in Kamokya, a Kampala suburb] and have a family meal together, pray and sing for him before we take him back to his home in Magere,” Mr Fred Nyanzi, the lawmaker’s elder brother, said.
Under the original plan, the legislator, would upon arrival, be chauffeured to Najjanankumbi, on the Entebbe highway, to check on his ailing grandmother and head to Kamokya for prayers and blessings before deciding whether to report to Parliament or head home.
He has not visited the August House since August 13 when security forces took him into custody in Arua, alongside 35 others.
Mr Kyagulanyi was incarcerated by the military whom he alleges tortured him, resulting in seeking specialised medical care in the US.
The court martial dropped a case of possession of illegal firearm against the MP, but police took him to a civilian court in Gulu where he, like the 33 co-accused, was charged with treason for allegedly stoning the presidential motorcade in Arua.
In a follow up interview last evening, Mr Kayima said Bobi Wine and his supporters have no option but to comply with their directives.
“If they do not, it is their problem, not my problem. I know they will follow, they have no choice after all,” he said.