By Richard Akandwanaho
Police in Ntungamo Municipality has today fired tear gas to disperse angry supporters of Hon Mwesigwa Rukutana, Minister of State for Labour, demanding for his immediate release.
The protesters also wanted the Ntungamo district NRM registrars to announce Rukutana the winner of the concluded election which he lost to former Ntungamo District Woman Member of Parliament Naome Kabasharira.
Rukutana who is also the Ntungamo Rushenyi County Member of Parliament was arrested on Saturday over the shooting of Dan Rweiburingi Kiriyo in Ruyonza Rubaare sub county Rushenyi.
Over 100 Rukutana supporters carrying placards reading Free Rukutana, Announce our Victory among others stormed Ntungamo town demanding that charges against the legislator be dropped and the Minister be released immediately.
The protesters also accused the Ntungamop District NRM party chairman who is also 1st lady Janet Kataaha Museveni for being behind the move to kick Rukutana out of Parliament. They claim Janet directed the Ntungamo district registrar Maria Mirembe to announce the partial results excluding the results of 10 villages where Rukutana allegedly had strong support. They vowed to continue the protest until the President intervenes.
The protesters were however tear gassed and dispersed by Police after reaching Ntungamo town. Police was commanded by the Ntungamo district Police Commander Damian Katwesiime. The DPC said trhey could not allow the protesters to continue because they had not sought permission from Police and were not observing social distancing as a way to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
The Ntungamo District NRM registrar Maria Mirembe said the elections were genuine and transparent and Mwesigwa Rukutana lost to Naome Kabasharira. She described the allegations of vote rigging as false and baseless.
Naome Kabasharira emerged the winner of Friday’s elections with 24,006 votes while Rukutana got 23,966 with a margin of 40 votes.