The leadership of People power pressure group has told their supporters to disregard talk that wearing red berets is an offense, and therefore they should continue wearing red berets, and not allow to be bullied.
This follows a move by government to gazette UPDF uniform including army headgear, and issuance of a notice that anyone who is found putting on army attire without due authorization will be prosecuted.
The leadership of people power argue that their beret distinctively differ from the UPDF’s gazetted beret, and therefore there is no offense in wearing it.
“We are telling Ugandans; you are not breaking any law by wearing People Power berets because it is not a UPDF beret, and don’t be bullied” said Joel Ssenyonyi.
The development follows a warning from government against use of army attire without due authorization, saying the offenders will be tried under the UPDF Act since the gazetted attire belongs to the army.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, the spokesperson for People Power movement Joel Senyonyi said the move by government is driven by panic and intended to slow down the momentum of opposition politicians which he said will not be possible.
Senyonyi emphasized that the UPDF beret is totally different from people power beret because the marks (badges) on both berets differ.
He said the red beret has become a symbol of the change, the fight for justice and transformation, and they believe the move by government to gazette is out of fear which also confirms that they are politically scoring.
They however urged their supporters not to wear UPDF berets because it is an offense doing so as enshrined in the UPDF Act.
He encouraged the supporters of People Power to continue wearing red berets as long as it makes them feel that they identify with the cause of the group.
Hon. Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi said the People Power movement plan to unveil a new strategy, though he did not divulge the details concerning this new plan.
On Monday, the UPDF spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire stated that government with endorsement from the top organs of the army had gazetted a new dress code for the army which covers uniforms, head gear and footwear.
In the notice, UPDF states that “the public is hereby informed that the marks, accessories, insignia, decorations and uniforms specified in the schedule to this notice are property of the State or classified stores and anyone found in unlawful possession, selling or dealing in them shall be prosecuted under the Uganda People’s Defence Forces Act, 2005.”