Kayihura: We'll Not Allow Illegal Political Rallies

ampoule geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>Only hours after telling parliament he was not aware of police deployment at Rtd Dr Kiiza Besigye’s home in Kasangati, what is ed Kayihura proceeded to meet a team of opposition leaders in Kololo where he denied police arrest and mistreatment of Free and Fair Elections campaign activists.

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At a meeting called by Internal Affairs Minister General Aronda Nyakairima to listen to the campaigners’ grievances, Kayihura also denied any radio stations being shut down by police as reported in the media.

“We were astonished when the IGP stood and claimed that no radio station or program was closed, in Kabale and Masaka,” UPC’s Olara Otunnu told press yesterday morning at Uganda House.

“It’s true there might have been some mistakes but certainly there was no pattern in the events that unfolded in Kabale, Kasese Mbale and Soroti,” Kayihura allegedly told the meeting.

Media reported on March 23 that police in Soroti had rounded up opposition leaders Gen Muntu, Olara Otunnu, and activist Bishop Niringiye and blocked them from holding a rally at Lions Park saying they intended to cause chaos there.

In Wednesday meeting, however, Kayihura said it was actually the opposition group who attacked a police officer at the hotel, beat him up and took away his Identity card.

A shocked Otunnu reiterated at the press brief on Thursday, “Gen (Muntu) and I were at the hotel watching the scenes unfold and it was us trying to calm the situation.”

“So, we patiently walked the IGP through the story again chapter and verse as it transpired and it was at this stage that he agreed to launch a full investigation into the incidences and report back to us.”

Other opposition big shots were also bemused by Kayihura’s responses while facing a house committee on Defence on Wednesday.

“Afande teargas (Uganda IGP) is not aware of police permanent deployment at my home. He even never reads newspapers,” tweeted Dr Besigye yesterday.

General Muntu, however, said despite all, the IGP and the police force deserves a chance to prove their commitment to stability and coexistence with the police.

“Yesterday’s meeting was not only about police’s recent actions, but we intended to use it as a stepping stone rebuild our confidence in the force.”

He added, “Today we are going through complex times, and in management of complex times it is imperative that you seek a common ground, because our ultimate goal is building a stable country.”


Appearing before Parliament this week, Kayihura said Police are not out to harass and block the civil society and opposition parties but to enforce the provisions of the Public Order Management Act.

Gen. Kayihura said that the Uganda Police Force is committed to ensuring the enjoyment of rights and freedoms as provided for in the Constitution.

“The Police that organizers of public meetings adhere and fulfill the requirements of the law which is being misrepresented as blocking civil society and political activists from carrying out their activities, and specifically, discussing political reforms,” said Gen. Kayihura.

He said that Police was well aware that leaders of political parties carry out their business through public meetings, but appealed to the leaders to respect and adhere to the law while organizing these meetings.

“Before this law was passed, the management of public order was not streamlined at all, and therefore, the need to come up with a comprehensive law to address all lacunas and adequately address issues of enforcement concerning public order management,” he said.

Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju (FDC, Kyaddondo East) wondered whether the Police was permitted to block Opposition politicians from appearing on radio stations, even when they have paid for talk shows.

The IGP, however explained that where the law was followed, Police allowed public meetings to go ahead in Mbarara Boma Grounds on March 7, 2014; Bunyonyi Public Primary School, Nyendo, Masaka on March 8, 2014; Homeland Hotel, in Bushenyi on March 14, 2014; and at the Youth Centre, Tororo Municipality on March 21, 2014.

He said that notifying the Police about a planned meeting gave time for the Force to carry out background checks about the organizers and determine whether the proprietor of the venue has permitted the meeting to be held there.

“The unfortunate incidents in Mbale, Soroti, Kabale and Kasese where the meetings were not held, were due to the simple reason that the law was not followed,” Gen. Kayihura said.

He added that organizers were blocked from appearing on radio because their appearances were meant to organize and mobilize people to attend meetings Police considered illegal.


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