Police have warned opposition political actors in Uganda that a standby force is ready to crush acts of violence amid reports of planned protests in the country this week.
Uganda police spokesperson Fred Enanga said they are not taking chances especially after continued “reckless statements” by opposition members calling for violence, and security are ready to deal with all forms of illegal protests.
The warning, Enaga says, follow intelligence gathered about plans by opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) and “other violent groups and actors” to hold riots and political demonstrations this week. “we wish to inform the public that the security agencies are ready and prepared to counter all riots and illegal protests.” Enanga said during the weekly press briefing at Nagulu Police Headquarters on Monday.
“Although the extent of the threats cannot be predicted, we are taking no chances, following the continued and reckless statements by the anti-democratic forces and agents of disunity, embedded agitators of violence.” he stated.
Fred Enanga was addressing the press on the general security situation in the country.
“We want to reassure the public that we have mobile and rapid, response teams on standby that are prepared across over 300 flashpoints to control crowds and also respond to any public safety needs.” Enanga added.
The NUP leadership, however, could not be reached for a comment as the known phone numbers of the party spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi went unanswered. The Deputy Spokesperson’s known phone numbers were unavailable too.
The police warning however coincides with the launch of political activities by opposition politicians under the People’s Front for Transition (PFT) led by Rt. Col. Dr Kizza Besigye, held in Kigezi sub region over the weekend. In what has been termed as the Red Card Agenda, different leaders gathered at our Rwakabengo state village for the first meeting of the PTF outside Kampala to discuss “the crisis” Uganda is facing as a nation.
“You heard Besigye say they are going to use all means to remove ‘illegitimate’ government. Hon Zaaka also made the same remarks. We cannot underestimate these statements” said Enanga.
The group including FDC President Patrick Oboi Amuriat and Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago say, the launch is part of a series of meetings which are part of the nationwide sensitization tours in which the need for transition of power in Uganda will be emphasized.
PFT Deputy Spokesperson, Harlod Kaija, laughed off Enanga’s warning saying whatever they (PFT) are doing is in consonance with Article 3 of the Constitution of Uganda and not illegal as police says.
Kaija affirmed that after Kigezi, PFT’s next target is Kampala where they expect to hold several meetings this week before heading to other regions. The group recently launched a Transition Agenda which they claim will pave way for a new government to replace the ruling National Resistance Movement they say is not only illegitimate but has mismanaged the affairs of the state in Uganda.
Article 3 speaks about defense of the Constitution if any person or group of persons to take or retain control of the Government of Uganda, except in accordance with the
provisions of this Constitution.
(3)(4)(a) says “All citizens of Uganda shall have the right and duty at all times to defend this Constitution and, in particular, to resist any person or group of persons seeking to overthrow the established constitutional order; and (b) to do all in their power to restore this Constitution after it has been suspended, overthrown, abrogated or amended contrary to its provisions. (5) Any person or group of persons who, as required by clause (4) of this article, resists the suspension, overthrow, abrogation or amendment of this Constitution commits no offence.