Police in Kampala yesterday arrested the Buikwe South Member of Parliament, Dr Micheal Lulume Bayiga, and other seven Democratic Party (DP) members for illegally accessing the party headquarters in Rubaga Division, Kampala.
The others are DP Bloc principal Samuel Lubega Mukaku, DP chairperson for Rubaga North David Kyakonye, DP chairperson for Makindye West John Bosco Mulindwa, DP member in charge of Makerere Branch Patrick Ssekamatte, Mr Godfrey Kaweesi, Mr Micheal Muganga, and Mr Alex Ntale.
The Kampala Metropolitan police spokesman, Mr Patrick Onyango, said the culprits went to the offices at Old Kampala, Balintuma Road, with an aim of illegally evicting the current leadership.
“We were informed about their planned move-in and we responded. In the process, we arrested eight suspects and they are currently detained at Old Kampala Police Station,” Mr Onyango said yesterday.
He said they had charged them with criminal trespass and incitement to violence.
“We appeal to the DP members, especially those who do not agree with Mr Norbert Mao [the party President General] to use legal procedures to channel their grievances instead of engaging in illegal activities,” he said.
Before the arrest, Dr Bayiga said they had called for a meeting for DP members from Kampala City, but they were surprised when police blocked them from accessing their premises.
“Police arrested whoever was arriving for the meeting and this means they are working on someone’s directives. We made several announcements for this meeting, which means it was authorised,” he said.
Dr Bayiga said Balintuma offices are party headquarters and are not out of bounds for any DP members.
“Heavy deployment at party headquarters indicated that the party president, who is also the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, sold our party in the cooperation agreement that he signed with the ruling government and we no longer have a right to access the offices without his consent,” he said.
Dr Bayiga said they had convened to plan for a way forward on how they can revive their party.
The DP spokesperson, Mr Okoler Opio, said the party regrets the incident.
“We consider that as an act of indiscipline from the said Member of Parliament. Though being a party premise, there is an established procedure that at least is known to members of DP to access and use it for any function,” he said.
Since penning the deal with President Museveni last month, Mr Mao and the DP secretary general, Mr Gerald Siranda, have faced criticism mainly from the Opposition, who have since characterised them as sell-outs.
The DP parliamentary caucus led by Dr Bayiga said the appointment of Mr Mao as Justice Minister means that he has joined the Junta to fight the Opposition.
The DP bloc also joined the Parliamentary caucus and kicked Mr Mao and Mr Gerald Strand out of the coalition.