KAMPALA -President Museveni has said he is exploring ways in which several opposition party members can be arrested and prosecuted for dividing people along sectarian lines during the Rukungiri District Woman MP by-election.
The hotly contested election was won by the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate, Ms Betty Muzanira, who garnered 50,611 votes against her closest contender and NRM’s Winfred Matsiko, who polled 46,379.
However, Mr Museveni, who is also the ruling NRM party chairperson, said FDC won the by-election because they resorted to dividing people along sectarian lines.
“The opposition had to box itself in a criminal trap, out of desperation, of incredibly using open and crude sectarianism of religion (Catholics vs Protestants) and tribe (Bakiga vs Bahororo). I am trying to corroborate these stories. If they are true, all those involved will have to be held accountable,” he said in statement issued on Saturday.
Ahead of last month’s by-election, the President donated boda-bodas, money, trucks, mini buses and an assortment of machinery worth over Shs5 billion to more that 100 groups.
However, he said the opposition must be prosecuted for bringing “hooligans to intimidate the voters” in Rukungi, and in Jinja; the two constituencies won by the opposition in the by-elections.
“The opposition should not be allowed to import personnel in the district – hooligans and undemocratic leaders who come to intimidate village voters,” he said.
“Each candidate should only be allowed two agents for monitoring. These are the ones to monitor that there were no electoral malpractices. I am told that there is another category of “observers”. These are supposed to observe but not to intervene; they should, apparently, only report. Yet, the opposition imports hooligans and the undemocratic leaders to intimidate unprotected villagers with impunity. They accommodate these hooligans in hotels or the homes of the opposition local supporters,” Mr Museveni said.
“On the election day, they fan out along the village paths and start intimidating the people going to vote. In Jinja, they were ambushing women coming out of their mizigo with words of intimidation. They even use rape against our supporters when they are going back home,” he added.