The de­ploy­ment of armed se­cu­rity per­son­nel at the air­port, in and around En­tebbe and Kampala demon­strated their in­cli­na­tion to use brute might over righ.”

The East African - - NEWS -

Nicholas Opio Opio to pre­vail upon the MP to co­op­er­ate with the po­lice, while deputy In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice Brig Sabi­iti Muzeyi led op­er­a­tions in En­tebbe in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Chief of De­fence Forces and heads of in­tel­li­gence agen­cies.

Ms Akullo asked Mr Opio to travel to En­tebbe but sources said she kept in­ter­rupt­ing their meet­ing at her of­fice to make and re­ceive calls with ap­par­ent up­dates and new in­struc­tions. Mr Opio is re­ported to have re­buffed the pleas and only went to En­tebbe af­ter he re­ceived a call from the fe­male MP who put on speak­er­phone in­struc­tions she was giv­ing to a top po­lice of­fi­cer to grant Mr Opio ac­cess to the air­port.

Sources say, Mr Opio then drove to the air­port and was al­lowed through the many road blocks partly be­cause he was smartly dressed and se­cu­rity might have as­sumed he was sim­ply a pas­sen­ger try­ing to get to the air­port or be­cause word had been shared to let him through.

At the air­port, Mr Opio suc­ceeded in talk­ing to Bobi Wine by tele­phone, ad­vis­ing him to be mind­ful of his weak state of health and the heavy de­ploy­ment out­side. Mr Opio is said to have then headed straight to the VIP lounge where he was shortly called by As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice James Ruh­weza. Ini­tially, Mr Opio de­clined to move to the En­tebbe Avi­a­tion Po­lice sta­tion pre­fer­ring that the meet­ing take place at the air­port, but he later agreed and was taken by a po­lice pick-up to the sta­tion. In 2005, on re­turn from self im­posed ex­ile, four-time pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Dr Kizza Be­si­gye was al­lowed un­fet­tered move­ment with a large pro­ces­sion from En­tebbe to Kampala. His con­voy closed the only ac­cess to the coun­try’s air­port for sev­eral hours but also showed the mas­sive sup­port he

Mr Opio did not find Mr Ruh­weza at the po­lice sta­tion. In the mean­time, Bobi Wine, who ar­rived on flight KQ412, had been picked up from the tar­mac and whisked away through the Old Air­port, sug­gest­ing se­cu­rity forces were op­er­at­ing with more than one plan.

Mr Opio de­clined to con­firm this de­tailed ac­count of his in­volve­ment, only giv­ing gen­eral com­ments about his client’s treat­ment.

“The de­ploy­ment of armed se­cu­rity per­son­nel at the air­port, in and around En­tebbe and Kampala demon­strated their in­cli­na­tion to use brute might over right. Po­lice state­ments a day be­fore his ar­rival made no at­tempt to hide their dis­dain for Bobi’s and his supporter’s rights to peace­ful assembly,” he said.

Po­lice spokesper­son Emil­ian Kay­ima said Bobi’s pri­vate re­turn plans, which in­cluded be­ing re­ceived not by fam­ily but “col­league lead­ers and artists,” a visit to his mother in Na­j­janankumbi, lunch with fam­ily in Kam­wokya be­fore head­ing to his home in Magere were thwarted be­cause “that was en­joyed. Since them, his ev­ery move­ment has been closely mon­i­tored. Po­lice have in sev­eral oc­ca­sion blocked him from leav­ing his home in Kampala. Po­lice also ar­rested Dr Be­si­gye when he at­tempted to mo­bilise Ugan­dans to Walk to Work demon­stra­tions against the rise in cost of liv­ing. bound to cause us trou­ble with pro­ces­sions and as­sem­blies that were un­planned and un­reg­u­lated.”

Mr Opio said, “In the cir­cum­stances, Bobi was un­able to even as­sert his ba­sic right. He was yanked from plane still on the tar­mac, out into a po­lice car and driven in a con­voy of mil­i­tary and po­lice cars to his home. His fam­ily mem­bers and lawyers as well as fel­low MPS were blocked from re­ceiv­ing him at the air­port, our at­tempts to reach out to the au­thor­i­ties to re­spect Bobi’s rights and en­sure his free move­ment were fu­tile. It was clear to us that the com­mand chains of this op­er­a­tion were opaque and un­will­ing to en­gage ex­cept on their own terms.”

Mr Kay­ima said the whole op­er­a­tion was down to, “en­gage­ment, pos­i­tiv­ity and what else, luck!” He is how­ever keen to avoid the darker sides, the ar­rest and bru­tal­ity against jour­nal­ists, some of whom were kept at var­i­ous po­lice fa­cil­i­ties for hours and their equip­ment con­fis­cated.

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