By Ivan Mwine
The police have put former presidential contender Col (Rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye under house arrest and warned members of the public to desist from staging illegal rallies.
Besigye was arrested by the police last week after he attempted to stage protest against the increasing commodity prices in the country.
However, the police didn’t allow him to go ahead with his plans; they swiftly arrested him and he has been detained at his home in Kasangati since then.
On Tuesday morning Members of Parliament mainly subscribing to the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) took several foodstuffs to Besigye’s home but the police deployed there blocked them from driving to his residence, so they were forced to carry the items on their heads.
As if to cement their position, the police have since issued a statement warning against any protests and vowing to arrest whoever attempts to stage any illegal public rally.
CP Fred Enanga, the police mouthpiece, said in the statement thus; “As you are all aware, last week the police disrupted attempts by the Rtd. Col. Dr. Kiiza Besigye, to hold unlawful assemblies and processions as a tool to manifest him discontent against the surge in commodity prices and fuel. The use of illegal processions has a potential of massively disrupting the other rights of the community, through disruptions in the flow of traffic, breach of peace, looting of shops and road side market shops, mugging and theft of phones from bystanders and pedestrians, running battles with security personnel and provocative behaviour like burning of tyres etc.”
He added that; “We therefore, wish to remind the Rtd. Col. Dr. Kiiza Besigye, that Section 5 of the Public Order Management Act (POMA), is still in force and requires all organisers of public meetings to notify the IGP, at least 3 days but not more than 15 days before the proposed date of the meeting. The notice should indicate the date, time, location, size, purpose and other basic information which is justified, to ensure the smooth conduct of the assembly. It is therefore, unfortunate that he did not give any notice and thus contravened the provisions of the POMA.”
“We shall therefore, continue using our powers and discretion in policing unlawful assemblies. All our territorial commanders have been tasked to remain vigilant and work with political actors who keep their activities within the law. And in addition, use lawful and reasonable methods to disperse and disrupt unlawful assemblies,” Enanga cautioned.
Meanwhile the police have today granted officials from the Uganda Human Rights Commission, led by Crispin Kugiza Kaheru, access to meet Besigye at his residence.