Police authorities have put former Security Minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde on notice that the decision to allow or block his planned consultations for his presidential bid will hinge on the response of Electoral Commission (EC).
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga reminded Gen Tumukunde that the EC had not yet responded to his interest. The EC spokesperson, Mr Jotham Taremwa, confirmed Gen Tumukunde’s letter and clarified that “[he] was not seeking our clearance. It was a notification as required by the law. But we shall respond to him [at an appropriate time].”
Police have on several occasion blocked Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, from conducting consultations for his presidential bid.
Police explained that Bobi Wine didn’t have clearance to hold the meetings.
On February 28, Gen Tumukunde, who ran President Museveni’s 2016 re-election campaign, wrote to EC chairman Simon Byabakama, notifying him about his impending consultations as a presidential aspirant.
The former security minister whose guards were removed last week, had previously indicated that he would contest for Kampala Lord Mayor.
Explaining the switch of interest to the Commander in Chief’s job, Gen Tumukunde revisited the bitter history of a country he seeks to lead and the bush war struggle against what he termed forces of tyranny, oppression and exploitation.
He indicated that his consultations will target various groups in the country, with a view of facilitating his decisions ahead of the nomination of presidential candidate slated for October.
“My consultations will also extend to the currently existing political groupings and/ or political parties, security agencies and law enforcement agencies, the rural population ,especially farmers, urban dwellers, the youth, women, entrepreneurs, the elderly, public servants at both national and local government levels,” Gen Tumukunde’s letter reads in part.
Gen Tumukunde is expected to address a news conference on Thursday to provide details on his presidential ambitions.
Reacting to Gen Tumukunde’s presidential bid, the former leader of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Dr Kizza Besigye, yesterday accused his bush war comrade of being one of the architects of manipulation of elections under the ruling National Resistance Movement and wondered whether he is serious with the struggle to liberate the country.
“Tumukunde should know that there are no elections in Uganda, what we have is rule by the guns and manipulation. I am sure Gen Tumukunde knows because he has been part of this manipulation,” Dr Besigye said.
“Gen Tumukunde knows that in Uganda, an election cannot cause change and bring about the announcement of a different person as president. If he wants to join the struggle for change, he should know that it will take more than canvassing for votes. I don’t know what to make of his joining the race whether he is coming in as part of manipulation or to cause change.”
He added: “If Gen Tumukunde is indeed genuine about the struggle for change, he will be tested.”
NRM spokesperson Rogers Mulindwa yesterday downplayed Gen Tumukunde’s presidential ambition and describing the retired general as “an NRM sympathiser” who has not been active politically.
Mr Mulindwa said Gen Tumukunde is not a factor that President Museveni would be afraid of facing in the February 2021 presidential polls.
“Museveni is tested and he is a candidate in his own category, he can face any challenge. You can’t equate the Tumukunde challenge to the five- year bush war challenge,” Mr Mulindwa said.
Yesterday, Gen Tumukunde took to social media and notified his fans about his intension to run for President.