KAMPALA – Police have warned Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, Dr. Kizza Besigye and other opposition politicians for continuing to hold public rallies in defiance of Public Order Management Act (POMA).
According to police, the opposition politicians have continued to defy the law and are inciting violence.
“Uganda as a country, respects rule of law and constitutionalism, which guarantees freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression; and has provided, meaningful opportunities for all political actors to express their diverse opinions either verbally or symbolically. And although these freedoms are typically provided for in the constitution, the Public Order Management Act is specific legislation that deals with the conduct of public assemblies. It clearly reveals that all organizers intending to hold political rallies and assemblies, should as a requirement, notify the Inspector General of Police, (IGP), 14 days in advance, indicating the date, time, location, size, purpose and other basic information, which is justified on such grounds to ensure the smooth conduct of the assembly,” said Mr Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson, while addressing journalists in Kampala on Monday.
“Unfortunately, some members of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), have continued to defy the notification and formal authorisation procedures in the POMA, to hold unlawful assemblies in Kabale, Tororo, Jinja, Mubende and Lira under the hidden pretext of the freedoms of association, expressions and assembly. We must recognise that the right to these freedoms is not absolute and cannot be assigned ascendant value over all other rights. Their political, messages and tactic of unlawful protests is a direct verbal incitement to violence and massive disruption of community life,” he added.
Mr. Enanga said the police are granted powers and discretion in policing assemblies.
“And in all the instances above, the police had the legitimate reason to disperse rioters who did not conform with the POMA. We have further instructed our territorial commanders, to work with those political actors, who keep their activities within the law; and to employ lawful means of dispersing unlawful assemblies. We have in addition encouraged them to isolate violent individuals and ring leaders rather than collectively punish rioters. We are meanwhile, conducting training and education of our officers, and reminding them about the role of police during demonstrations, how to cooperate with organizers, strategies to decrease tension, managing various gatherings, the use of proclamation, and the respect and protection of human dignity.”
The move comes after Bobi Wine was arrested at Mulago roundabout while heading to CID headquarters for statement recording. He has been charged with inciting violence and remanded to Luzira prison till May 2.