In the wake of the Arua bi election in 2018, then Principal of the People Power Movement Robert Kyagulanyi and a host of other change enthusiasts argued on whether to travel to Arua for the bi election or not.
Some of the close associates of Mr Kyagulanyi pleaded with the Principal to go, campaign for Kasiano Ezati Wadri who had been denied an FDC party card.
Around midnight, the day Kyagulanyi went to Arua, his associates and him argued to an extent when they all agreed to a toss for them to help Wadri in the bi election. The toss went in favor of Kyagulanyi’s associates who wanted him to go to Arua.
The team later boarded one of Kyagulanyi’s vehicles, Tundra, drove off to join MPs Gerald Karuhanga and Francis Zaake to garner support for long serving Terego MP Kasiano Wadri.
The campaigns turned massive as elections drew nearer. Kyagulanyi called for the People of Arua to vote a senior leader who would bridge the gap between the old and young to invigorate the United Forces of change towards the 2021 general elections.
Other principals Yoweri Museveni and Kizza Besigye were also in Arua seeking support from the people for their different candidates.
While rallying support from the people in the area, Kyagulanyi and team provoked first, Besigye as he passed by his campaign rally, playing loud sound and music.
“He later left with almost all supporters at the place to get to his rally. This angered Besigye but, he controlled his temper by remaining silent.” A member of the Kyagulanyi campaign team in Arua says.
Campaigns ended and, President Museveni who was campaigning for Nusura Tiperu had to travel back to Kampala.
Reports from the West Nile district at that time indicated that an encounter happened in as Museveni’s convoy bypassed Kyagulanyi supporters as the President closed in to an armored chopper set to fly him back to Kampala.
Presidential spokesperson Don Wanyama immediately issued a statement that Kyagulanyi supporters had stoned a rare window of the Presidential vehicle, breaking it instantly.
On the same night, operatives alleged to be from the Ugandan Military shot, killed Yasin Kawuma the then driver of the Tundra, the vehicle Kyagulanyi had used to travel with his team.
The officers also looked for members of the Kyagulanyi team including the Principal, Robert Kyagulanyi, then MP aspirant Kasiano Wadri and MPs Francis Zaake and Gerald Karuhanga.
The team was later arrested, imprisoned in different places as Kyagulanyi was taken to Makindye Military prison. He was later accused of possessing Military equipment including ammunition and riffles. Kyagulanyi and his team’s vehicles were taken to Arua Police Station.
Most of the team members including Kyagulanyi were later released and denied entry in Arua until their case is disposed off. However, the People power team, through their lawyer Merdard Ssegona asked the High Court in Gulu to also release their confiscated by Police in Arua.
As court granted the request, the presiding Judge asked that all owners of Motor Vehicles present documents that identify them as the rightful owners of the vehicles if they needed them back.
“We left a happy team and believed we could get our assets from Police Custody.” One of the vehicle owners said.
Why Kyagulanyi’s Tundra cannot be gotten
Just after the court order, several People Power diehards who had their vehicles impounded presented documents to the Police leaders in Arua. Almost all vehicles were recovered.
However, Kyagulanyi didn’t pick the Tundra. Why? The Kyadondo East MP didn’t have documentation that attests ownership of the vehicle.
Sources close to Kyagulanyi told Entebbe Post that at the height of the October 2013 Red Cross multimillion scandal, then Uganda Red Cross Society Chairperson Khalid Ssimbwa was specifically pinned on the smuggling of a motor vehicle, Tundra into the country using Red Cross assets.
The Uganda Red Cross is not taxed for all the products it brings into the country since it is a humanitarian organization. It is upon this background that Ssimbwa was accused of trying to evade tax by bringing a private property into the country using the Uganda Red Cross Society.
A panicky Ssimbwa, then a close ally to Kyagulanyi, then mostly known for his stage name Bobi Wine went to the musician, asking for a favor to claim the vehicle.
“In that way, it helped Ssimbwa’s situation calm. Kyagulanyi later approached his then partner, Gen Kale Kayihura, claimed to own the vehicle. He also explained that he used Red Cross since it was a better way for him to have the vehicle without paying taxes, at a minimal cost.” A musician in the Fire Base entertainment told this reporter.
Kyagulanyi, being a close friend to Kayihura was safe guarded and not taken to court for tax evasion. He started driving his vehicle until it was confiscated in Arua. All allies fear picking or claiming the vehicle since Kyagulanyi has no documents.
“There is also fear that if anyone goes to claim it, he or she will have to first pay all taxes before it can be handed over,” a Police officer at Arua Police says.