KAMPALA — The Citizens Coalitions for Electoral Democray in Uganda ( CCEDU) known for its stance on promotion of democratic has blasted security forces on using excessive forces while implementing presidential directives including curfew and lockdown.
Whereas CEDDU recognizes governments efforts to contain the deadly Corona Virus, it has strongly advised the security operatives to acknowledge that the lock down is a disruption to daily lives and cannot be easy on ordinary Ugandans.
The coalition was specifically concerned on how directives were implemented— urging security to them enforce in a manner that promotes human rights and safety.
The Majority of Ugandans are used to struggling to put food on their table, but are now faced with a situation where they are ordered to stay in the house due to virus and the choice they have to make is whether to die of hunger or walk out and face the virus and die trying to survive.
There have been reports of journalists beaten on their way to work and yet the head of state gave them express permission to continue working.
Recently, an NTV journalist was beaten by UPDF soldiers in western Uganda.
He sustained injuries and his camera was damaged.
Earlier last week, a nurse on her way to work was beaten by soldiers and fell to the tarmac and hurt herself badly.
Two doctors were arrested on April 1, even when they presented their work Ids and had clearance letters from RDCS’.
Borrowing a leaf from western economies which have been the hardest hit by COVID-19, these economies, defined essential services and most definitely doctors and journalists were part of this category.
CEDDU also urged the Government to portray a more balanced view of implementing the lock-down and come up with strategies of implementation that are fair and just to all Ugandans.
President Museveni has since warned security personnel especially the Local Defence Unit (LDUs) against misinterpreting his directives on enforcement of the lockdown intended to halt the spread coronavirus.
The president said it had been brought to his attention that security officers especially Local Defence Units misinterpret his directives and terrorise members of the public.
“Why are you beating people? Even these days, we nolonger beat cows,” the President said.
He said that all enforcement should be handled within the instruments of the law.
“Security personnel should handle issues firmly but legally. Beating people is you giving our security forces a bad image! To the whole world. You’re weakening us. That beating which is illegal, pointless, what are you beating 4lfor? This is isolating us internationally and internally.”
Last week, the President warned the local defence unit personnel (LDUs) against hooliganism during night-time operations after reports that of some of them stormed people’s houses and beat occupants.
The president’s concern came after complaints by several members of the public about the behavior of some security officers while enforcing the curfew.
It has been reported in the past few days that many people have either been arrested or beaten by security officers after being found in their compounds or verandas during times of curfew.
The President later unleashed Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema to handle the security personnel that are misbehaving.
He said on Wednesday that he expected the security personnel to enforce the lockdown guidelines but following the law.
Security operatives who have meted violence on some sections of Ugandans must be brought to book under the Anti torture Act and the Human Rights Enforcement Act which will be reassurance that justice has been served.
The coalition and its partners are documenting the abuses for further action , and it will also soon issue guidelines of electoral observation in the COVID-19 circumstances to all its partners.
In such times, other than the security Minister referring to desperate Ugandans as ‘Adui’ (enemies) we should see more of security operatives, understanding their population and explaining the challenges even as they enforce the guidelines outlined by the President.
Only then will we win the battle against COVID-19.
Uganda has registered 54 cases of Corona Virus patients according to the results from Ministry of Health.
After the president’s decree on Curfew that every one has to be home by 7:00pm as one of the measures to Combat COVID 19. Some of the security officials have misused their authority especially the Local Defence Units ( LDU ) among others and have captured beating Ugandans hopelessly to the extend of torturing them.
However, the President went ahead and called them ” Pigs” and urged them to immediately desist from stupid actions before instructing the public to report them to Lt.Col .Edith Nakalema.