Kampala, Uganda | URN | Police have vowed to continue besieging former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president Kizza Besigye’s home in Kasangati so as to prevent him from mobilising masses to protest against the rising commodity prices.
Dr. Besigye has been under house arrest for now six days since last week when he attempted to walk to the city centre in protest against rising fuel and commodity prices and the general lack of government intervention.
The government continues to blame ‘external forces’ particularly the Russian-Ukrainian crisis as the reasons for the rising inflation. Finance minister Matia Kasaija maintains that even when the government intervenes through tax reductions, the prices will not necessarily come down.
But critics have pointed to neighbouring government’s interventions such as the 12 per cent increment of the minimum wage by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta to offset the rising cost of living, while President Samia Suluhu of Tanzania also increased civil servants’ salaries by 23 per cent.
“The use of illegal processions has a potential of massively disrupting the other rights of the community, through disruptions in the flow of traffic, breach of peace, looting of shops and roadside market shops, mugging and theft of phones from bystanders and pedestrians, running battles with security personnel and provocative behaviour like burning of tyres etc,” police spokesperson Fred Enanga said in a statement.
Police and the army have since established a base at Dr. Kizza Besigye’s home – with all his visitors registered and screened, despite previous High court orders barring the police from turning one’s home into a detention centre.
“We therefore, wish to remind the Rtd. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye, that Section 5 of the Public Order Management Act (POMA), is still in force and requires all organisers of public meetings to notify the IGP, at least 3 days but not more than 15 days before the proposed date of the meeting. The notice should indicate the date, time, location, size, purpose and other basic information which is justified, to ensure the smooth conduct of the assembly.
It is therefore, unfortunate that he did not give any notice and thus contravened the provisions of the POMA. We shall therefore, continue using our powers and discretion in policing unlawful assemblies. All our territorial commanders have been tasked to remain vigilant and work with political actors who keep their activities within the law. And in addition, use lawful and reasonable methods to disperse and disrupt unlawful assemblies,” said Enanga.