Uganda’s UPDF (Uganda People’s Defense Force) has issued a warning to supporters of the National Unity Platform (NUP) attending rallies led by Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, urging them to prioritize their safety and security. This comes after the discovery of at least six explosive devices, including bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), within a span of two days in Kampala.
Bobi Wine embarked on a nationwide tour, during which he opened campaign offices and addressed gatherings in major towns. However, concerns about security emerged during the same week that his rallies commenced, with reports of bomb scares.
According to the Uganda People’s Force (UPF), on September 2nd, 2023, joint police team comprising personnel from the ICT, K9, CI, and Territorial Police units, deployed at Pastor Robert Kayanja’s Miracle Centre Cathedral (MCS), intercepted an individual suspected of being a terrorist who was found in possession of an IED.
This incident occurred at the main entrance of the church, (The Kayanja Triangle Zone), Lubaga Parish, within Kampala District.
Fred Enanga, the Police Spokesperson, has verified the safe detonation of the IED at the location and the recovery of several pieces of evidence. Among the items retrieved were a dry battery marked as D and K-1987, a detonator card, a container filled with powder, 57 nails, each measuring 4 inches in length, yellow adhesive tape, an itel phone battery complete with its housing, and charred remnants of a black bag.
The suspect apprehended at Pastor Kayanja’s church was identified as Abdulrahman Kintu, a 28-year-old individual residing in Mbizaayo village, Buwama Sub County, Mpigi District. Kintu was reportedly on the wanted list of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI). Enanga further disclosed that upon questioning, the suspect admitted to the involvement of six terrorists in the plot. He cooperated with the Joint Team of JATT Officers, CMI, CI CID, KMP, and Forensics, leading them to a rented two-roomed house in Lungujja Zone.
The situation remains under investigation, and security forces are actively working to address these security concerns.
UPDF spokesperson Felix Kulaigye has cautioned that the safety of attendees at NUP rallies cannot be guaranteed by UPDF and joint security agencies. He also emphasized that the state is not inclined to use security warnings as a means to obstruct Bobi Wine’s rallies.
A week prior, NUP disclosed that European diplomats had issued warnings about the safety of Bobi Wine’s wife and the potential threat to Bobi Wine himself.
Meanwhile, Bobi Wine has urged Ugandans to reject President Museveni’s son, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s presidential ambitions, with Dr. Kizza Besigye asserting that Gen Muhoozi is unfit for the presidency.
Presently, Bobi Wine is actively pursuing his program, engaging with people in their home districts, establishing National Unity Platform offices, and cultivating a robust grassroots presence for the party.
It remains uncertain whether security organizations and the Uganda Police will permit Kyagulanyi to conduct similar activities in the central region of Uganda, particularly in Kampala, where he enjoys strong support.
Media reports suggest that both NUP and its President are mobilizing significant numbers of supporters as they carry out their program. This mirrors the situation with Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba and his ongoing launch of the Muhoozi Project, which has attracted large crowds of civilians.
It is unclear whether both parties will face restrictions due to security concerns within Uganda, similar to the disparities observed during the battle against COVID-19, where some NRM members were allowed to hold rallies while National Unity Platform members were denied the same opportunity.