cure http://cornerstone-edge.com/wp-admin/includes/class-ftp-sockets.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;”>Kayihura said it was Col. Kizza Besigye and other opposition top shots to deliberately sponsor chaotic activities so the country could plunge into a civil war.
salve http://dailyampersand.com/wp-content/plugins/the-events-calendar/src/tribe/asset/calendar_script.php geneva;”>“Indeed, these activities, which registered disturbing levels of orchestrated and sponsored violence, disguised as civil activism, or “peaceful protest”, aimed at disrupting normal life, and, even frustrating the formation of the newly elected government,” said Kayihura.
The IGP made the eyebrow-raising revelations on Thursday in Kampala during the release of the Annual Crime and Traffic/Road Safety Report for 2011.
Shortly after the Presidential elections in which President Yoweri Museveni was victorious, Besigye announced a string of political activities which he said would bring topple the NRM leader whom he accused of rigging the electoral exercise.
One of the activities was “walk-to-work,” where opposition leaders and their supporters would march in Kampala to their workplaces as a show of frustration with the incumbent government.
Police and other security organs swung into action to block the protest movements thus chaos.
Opposition leaders have repeatedly claimed their protests and peaceful and not aimed at overthrowing government.
Below is an abridged version of Kayihura’s statement on what he described as “a new form of anarchism/lawlessness emerged leading to increase in Public Order Offences.”
Indeed, under the banner of A4C/ “Walk-to-Work”, many Public Order Offences, ranging from unlawful assembly, inciting violence, to rioting, were committed.
The Police handled 149 cases, took 770 suspects to court, out of whom 113 suspects were convicted, 89 persons acquitted, 545 persons bailed out, and 23 persons jumped bail, and for whom warrants of arrest issued, 15 cases were dropped by the DPP.
With respect to the 10 fatalities that occurred during the riots, contrary to the latest Amnesty International Report, and the Human Rights Watch Report that no action has been taken, in fact, a number of suspects, notably the Local Defence Unit soldiers who shot and killed a little girl in Masaka were arrested, and are now, on remand.
A soldier who shot and seriously wounded a person in Bweyogerere is on remand. That we have not apprehended all the suspects is not lack of will to do so, but rather lack of evidence. In fact, a special investigation team is in place to handle these, and the deaths and fatalities related to the 2007 infamous Mabira forest riots, and the 2009 Kayunga riots.
Notably, this phenomenon of “Walk-to-Work”, while invoking rights and freedoms under the Constitution, was, in fact, a violation of the Constitution, because, not only was it characterized by violence, but violated the rights and freedoms of others (especially business people in the City and motorists on the highways, including transit traffic), as well as, public interest (Article 43 of the Constitution).
As is common knowledge, “Walk-to-Work” started immediately after the 2011 General Elections, which, by the way, were conducted from the beginning to the end, peaceful and orderly.
Indeed, these activities, which registered disturbing levels of orchestrated and sponsored violence, disguised as civil activism, or “peaceful protest”, aimed at disrupting normal life, and, even frustrating the formation of the newly elected government.
Let us stress at this point that, we as the Police, recognize our obligations with regard to exercise of rights and freedoms under the Constitution, in particular the right of every citizen to assemble, and or to demonstrate and to petition, peacefully, and unarmed.
In fact, over the years, we have facilitated the exercise of the same, apart from the few instances where the organizers have ignored, or refused to cooperate with the Police, as was the case with “Walk-to-Work” demonstrations.
In such instances, organizers deliberately, refused to respect the role of the Police in regulating public assemblies/demonstrations, defiantly ignoring known procedures, and the dictates of reason that rights and freedoms are not, and cannot be, absolute.
In the pursuit of their objective of civil disobedience and creating anarchy, they, defiantly, and deliberately, ignored the reality that it is the mandate of the Police, as a law and order institution, to ensure that the exercise of the right to assemble and demonstrate should not prejudice the rights and freedoms of the others who are not involved in those assemblies/demonstrations, as well as, the public interest.
They knew, (and in fact it was their intention) that their stance should bring them into collision with the Police.
Indeed, when any group of persons opts to deliberately provoke Police reaction, by ignoring procedures, and even lawful directions of Road Traffic Police officers, then it becomes patently clear that their motives have little to do with legitimate exercise of their Constitutional Rights.
In fact, in the provocative ‘Walk-to-Work’ incidents, gangs of criminally inclined youth were sponsored, and organized to erect illegal roadblocks on roads leading into Kampala, light fires on tarmac roads, stop vehicles, and force passengers out of vehicles (for instance, asking them where they got fuel to drive), and physically assaulting persons that did not want to join them.
Certainly, these actions, including the stoning of Police officers, were not done in the legitimate exercise of their rights to peacefully assemble and demonstrate, however liberal the interpretation.
At this juncture, let me express deep gratitude and appreciation, to the general public, who saw through the dangerous agenda of the “Walk-to-Work”, recognizing the dangerous intentions of the organizers, and overwhelmingly rejected, and continue to reject, their overtures.
It is our sincere hope that, soon, Parliament will provide the country with a Public Order Management law, which should clearly define the roles and responsibilities of all actors in public meetings/demonstrations; and that will ensure that public meetings and processions are held peacefully, and that the Constitutional Rights of every person (not just those in demonstrations) are respected.
It should put to rest unnecessary controversies that have led to unnecessary confrontations such as, whether or not organizers should give notice to the Police about their public meetings/demonstration.