Besigye Leading Oil Protests In Kampala

there geneva;”>Independent-minded and opposition legislators are trying to block a move by a section of NRM members to reinstate the Energy Minister’s powers to grant, revoke licenses and negotiate petroleum agreements as presented in the original Bill Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) 2012.

Led by Medard Ssegona and Theodore Ssekikuubo, the MPs last week walked out of Parliament, protesting against what they termed as a “coup against the wishes of majority Ugandans.”

They further vowed to mobilize Ugandans to protest against the move which they say is “anti-people.”

But Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi told the House that failure to recommit clause 9 “is tantamount to removing the President from the control of the oil resource.”

MPs say the move to recommit the clause is “anti-people” and “unacceptable.”

On Monday morning, Besigye announced that “concerned Ugandans” would take to the streets and march to Parliament to protest against the Bill’s reconsideration.

Uganda Police Force on Saturday warned legislators against plans to hold what they termed as an “unlawful” rally.

“We would like to inform the general public that the organizers of this planned demonstration, have neither notified the Police, nor provided the requisite details as required by procedure, to enable the Police provide security, and ensure that the demonstration is peaceful,” said Deputy Police Publicist Vincent Ssekate.

“Any planned demonstration or procession, in this instance, is therefore, unlawful, and shall not be allowed to take place.”

Ssekate said while the Constitution grants the right to demonstrate peacefully and unarmed, this right comes with conditions and responsibilities.

“The overriding condition is that, any person exercising this right must do so without prejudicing the rights of others or public interest. Public interest includes national security,” he observed.

Under Article 212 of the Constitution, he said, it is the constitutional responsibility of the Police to safeguard these rights, by preserving the peace, maintaining law and order, and detecting and preventing crime.

Ssekate maintained this is particularly so in situations where the exercise of these rights is likely to result in conflict of interests of parties involved or affected, or put innocent lives, and property, in imminent danger.

“It is for this reason that Section 32(1) of the Police Act empowers the Police to regulate the conduct of public meetings and processions. In executing its regulatory function in regard to public meetings and processions, the Police require organizers of public meetings and processions to notify the Police, in advance of any intended public meeting or procession.”

He said the purpose of the notice is to enable the Police plan for the security of the function, ensure that the rights of other persons not involved are protected, and protect national security.

“In the notice, the organizers are required to provide details of the venue, time and number of persons expected, in case of public meetings; and the intended route, time and number of persons expected, in case of processions.

This, in fact, is the standard practice the world over, in other established democracies, as well as sister Commonwealth countries.”

Ssekate warned the general public not to be lured into participating in an illegal activity by going to Parliament without informing the concerned authorities.

“The Police shall continue to cooperate with the public, and other security agencies, to maintain law and order, prevent crime, and ensure the safety and security of the country,” said Ssekate.

Police have in the past clashed with Civil Society members and opposition politicians during protests.

4GC members expected to participate in today’s protest include DP’s Kenneth Kakande, MPs Mathias Mpuuga and Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago


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