Police spokesperson Fred Enanga has said the force will not allow opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye’s People’s Front for Transition (PFT) assemblies, meetings and protests until they have full proof from the Ministry of Health (MoH).
Addressing reporters in Kampala on October 11, Enanga sought to argue that meetings PFT meetings could help spread Covid19, and disrupt peace.
Here’s what Enanga said:
The Police and Sister Security agencies have obtained information about plans by the newly formed “People Front for Transition”, to hold unlawful assembles and meetings in markets and other public areas, countrywide. Although it is a fundamental right to peacefully assemble, all political assemblies and meetings are still restricted under the Public Health Orders, due to the existence of COVID-19 in the country. We also want to inform the organisers that although Section 8 of the Public Order Management Act, (POMA) as suspended, the other provisions of the POMA are still in existence and have to be fully complied with.
The leaders of the pressure group, therefore, have a duty to inform the police, about the date and time of their public meetings; details of the organisers, location and consent of the venue owner, the number of persons expected, purpose and any other basic information justified to ensure the smooth conduct of the public meeting. The organisers also have a duty to adhere to the criteria for holding public meetings i.e have a traffic assembly plan, provide sufficient stewards proportionate to the number of participants in the public meeting with clearly identified name tags; coordinate and cooperate with the police to maintain peace and order.
We will only respect the right of people to assemble, only if we have the full proof of their clearance from the Ministry of Health, on health and safety grounds and further proof of compliance with the requirements of POMA. The organisers from the new pressure group are advised accordingly.
In addition, as a country, we have previously seen professional agitators like the Rtd. Col. Dr. Kiiza Besigye and other opposition agents, take advantage of the right to peacefully assemble, to cause acts of disorder, lawlessness and mayhem in our major cities and towns.
The country has for the last 11 months been free from violent protests and demonstrations, and we intend to keep it peaceful. We will not allow any unlawful assemblies to occur. Already plans are in place on how to respond in a discriminate manner, targeting the masterminds, instigators, perpetrators and ring leaders of these unlawful assemblies.
Our responses will ensure the rights of the majority of Ugandans, to life, liberty or property are not deprived by a group of self-appointed activists. Ugandans deserve to live in a safe and secure environment.