Category Police

WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED IN ARUA? MY STORY!



WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED IN ARUA? MY STORY!
(As narrated by Hon Kyagulanyi/Bobi Wine)

Fellow Ugandans, friends and well-wishers from around the world,

I am sorry, I have taken a bit long to write to you about the trials and tribulations, for which you all stood with me. It’s been tough days, as I recover from the physical and mental trauma I endured. I am overwhelmed by your support and words of encouragement. I cannot repay you in any other way, except sticking to those values which bind all of us together- justice, equality and human dignity.

I will be communicating more in the coming days and where possible send my appreciation to the different individuals and organizations. In this post however, I want to recount what exactly happened to me. I am very grateful to my wife Barbie, and my lawyers who narrated to the world these events, but I also wanted to tell this sad story PERSONALLY. I felt more compelled to speak out after reading the many posts written by President Museveni and other government officials about what happened.

I read the things they were saying while I was in detention, and found them absurd to say the least. I was shocked on how they tried to downplay the atrocities committed by security agencies on innocent citizens.
So let me set the record straight.

It was 13th August and it was the last day of campaigns in the Arua municipality by-election. As always we had a great campaign day. As I left the rally, I was convinced that our candidate Hon. Kassiano Wadri would win the election. So we moved from the rally at about 5:30pm and the people followed us, singing songs of freedom and chanting “People Power – Our Power.” Together with Hon. Kassiano and a few other leaders, we parted with the multitude, bade them farewell and went into Royal hotel where Hon. Wadri was staying.

We watched the 7:00pm news from the hotel lobby as we took tea and took stock of the day’s events. It was of course very exciting to watch that day’s news. The anchor said we were clearly ahead of the other candidates and the television relayed images of the massive rally and procession we had had on that day. Shortly after, I decided to move to Pacific hotel where I was staying so as to rest after the very busy day. It was at that point that I sat in my tundra vehicle, in the co-driver’s seat. The gentleman who was driving the tundra that day is one of our drivers (not Yasin). He moved out of the vehicle to call other team members who were supposed to drive with us. He took a bit long and I moved into my other vehicle (a land cruiser) which was right next to the tundra and whose driver was already seated on the driver’s seat. We immediately set off for Pacific hotel. I did not even see what happened after or how late Yasin ended up on my seat in the tundra. For clarity, he had been driving another vehicle that day.

I had started taking the stairs to my room when this driver came running to say that Yasin Kawuma had been shot. I could not believe it. I asked him where he was and he told me they were parked outside the hotel. We paced down and I saw with my own eyes, my friend and comrade Yasin, giving way as he bled profusely. I quickly asked a team member to take him to hospital and another to call the police. We had not stepped away from that place when angry looking SFC soldiers came, beating up everyone they could see.

As soon as they saw me, they charged saying “there he is” in Swahili. So many bullets were being fired and everyone scampered to safety. I also ran up into the hotel with a throng of people who had gathered around. Inside the hotel, I entered a random room and locked myself in. It is at that point that my media assistant shared with me Yasin’s picture which I tweeted because the world needed to know what was going on.

I could hear the people outside and in the hotel corridors crying for help. I could also hear the soldiers pulling these helpless people past the room in which I was, saying all sorts of profanities to them while beating them mercilessly.

I stayed in the room for a long time. At some point, I heard soldiers pull some woman out of her room and ask her which room Bobi Wine had entered. The woman wailed saying she didn’t know and what followed were terrible beatings. I could hear her cry and plead for help as she was being dragged down the stairs. Up to now, that is one experience that haunts me; that I could hear a woman cry for help, yet I was so vulnerable and helpless. I could not help her.

I stayed put for some hours, and I could hear the soldiers come every few minutes, bang some doors on my floor or other floors and go away. At different times I would sleep off, but was always rudely awakened by the banging of doors and the impatient boots that paced throughout the hotel for the whole night. In the wee hours of the morning, the soldiers started breaking doors of the different hotel rooms. With rage, they broke doors, and I knew they would soon come to my room. I therefore put my wallet and phone into my socks. I also had with me some money which I had earned from a previous music show. I also put it into the socks.

A few minutes later, a soldier hit my door with an iron bar and after two or three attempts the door fell in. We looked each other in the eye as he summoned his colleagues in Swahili. Another soldier pointed a pistol on my head and ordered me to kneel down. I put my hands up and just before my knees could reach the floor, the soldier who broke into the room used the same iron bar to hit me. He aimed it at my head and I put up my hand in defence so he hit my arm. The second blow came straight to my head on the side of my right eye. He hit me with this iron bar and I fell down. In no minute, all these guys were on me- each one looking for the best place to hurt. I can’t tell how many they were but they were quite a number.

They beat me, punched me, and kicked me with their boots. No part of my body was spared. They hit my eyes, mouth and nose. They hit my elbows and my knees. Those guys are heartless!

As they dragged me out of the room, they continued to hit me from all sides. After some time, I could almost no longer feel the pain. I could only hear what they were doing from a far. My cries and pleas went unheeded. The things they were speaking to me all this while, I cannot reproduce here. Up to now, I cannot understand how these soldiers who I probably had never met before in person could hate me so much.

They wrapped me in a thick piece of cloth and bundled me into a vehicle. Those guys did to me unspeakable things in that vehicle! They pulled my manhood and squeezed my testicles while punching me with objects I didn’t see. They pulled off my shoes and took my wallet, phone and the money I had. As soon as the shoes were off, they started hitting my ankles with pistol butts. I groaned in pain and they ordered me to stop making noise for them. They used something like pliers to pull my ears. Some guy unwrapped me and instead tied the thick cloth around my head. They forced my head below the car seat so as to stop me from shouting. Then they hit my back and continued to hit my genitals with objects. The marks on my back, ankles, elbows, legs and head are still visible. I continued to groan in pain and the last I heard was someone hit me at the back of the head with an object – I think a gun butt or something. That was the last time I knew what was going on.

By the time I became conscious again, I was somewhere in a small room with a small window. My legs were tied together with my hands with very tight cuffs. I was bleeding from the nose and ears. I was in great pain. My whole body was swollen. I was shaking uncontrollably.

Two soldiers came in. I can now recall that they were visibly pleased to see that I was still alive. They came close to me. One of them apologized in tears about what had happened. “Bobi, I am sorry but not all of us are like that. Some of us actually like you,” he said. He said that doctors were on their way to treat me. I stayed in the same position and after a few hours, about four soldiers came in and lifted me on a piece of cloth. One of them took a picture of me, (I hope to see that picture some day in my life). As we went out, I read “Arua airfield’ somewhere. I was taken into a waiting military helicopter and taken to a place which I later found out was Gulu 4th Division military barracks. It was at that facility that some military doctors came in and started giving me injections.

At that point I could not even complain as I was not yet fully alert. I was very dizzy and had not eaten or drank anything for many hours. My sight was very weak as well. I spent the night there. Late in the night, I was picked again from this detention facility. With my head covered with a dark cloth that felt like a t-shirt, I was taken to Gulu Police Station where I was forced to sign a written statement by an officer called Francis Olugo in the presence of some other officer who I later learnt is the CID head of Gulu. I can hardly recall what was contained in that statement! I was then returned to Gulu military barracks, put on a metallic bed and handcuffed on it. Very early morning, I was picked from this room and taken to another very secluded and dirty room where I was put on another bed, hand-cuffed again and injected with a drug that immediately sent me into a deep sleep.

The following day I can recall that at some point, Hon. Medard Ssegona and Hon. Asuman Basalirwa came to me. My efforts to rise and speak to them didn’t yield much. The moment they saw me, they could hardly hold tears. I have a faint recollection of what they told me, but their visit was very short.

I was later carried into a hall where I saw soldiers dressed smartly. I would lie if I said I fully appreciated what was going on at that point. I was later told that I was appearing before the General Court Martial!!!

After a short while, I was again carried into a military helicopter.

When it landed, I was put into a vehicle and driven to another place which I later found out was Makindye military barracks.

At Makindye, I was now fully alert and had a drink for the first time after two or three days. I saw doctors come in several times and they gave me all kinds of injections. At some point, I tried to object and these guys would hold my arms from behind and inject me anywhere. If I asked what drug it was, the guy would say something like, “This is diclofenac, can’t you see?” At some point, some guy came in and wanted to stitch my ear which had an open wound. I pleaded with him not to, and he relented. All the while I was spending the day and night with my hands and legs cuffed until a few days later. Thankfully although the scars are still visible, the wound on my ear healed.

It was after some time at Makindye that I was able to see my wife and my brother Eddy Yawe, who came in with some lawyers, some friends and dignitaries from the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC). I will never forget the atmosphere in that room- people started crying upon setting eyes on me. At that point, I could not sit, walk or even stand by myself. I was still swollen and spoke with great difficulty due to chest pains. My teeth were shaking and the headache was unbearable. I am thankful that the UHRC made a report which I later read. At least it captured in part, the state in which they found me. As the government agency mandated to fight human rights violations, I am eagerly waiting to see what actions they will take to ensure that no Ugandan is taken through this ever again. Not even President Museveni. I cannot wish what happened to me upon anyone. Not even those soldiers who violated me as if they were beasts. I remember two other things about that visit. Despite the pain I had that day, I remember forcing a smile when they told me that I had been charged with unlawful possession of firearms.

I was told that three guns had been assembled and said to have been found in my room! I could not believe that the state would torture a Ugandan so bad and then frame him with possession of guns! I did not stop thinking about that for all the days I spent at Makindye. How ruthless, how callous, how inhumane could these guys be? It was also on that day that I was told about the alleged stoning of the President’s vehicle.

The other thing I remember is this- I asked my visitors if we had won the Arua election. They told me we had won with a big margin and I thanked God. That strengthened my spirit because I knew that the people were with us, even in the kind of sufferings and indignities we were being subjected to.

I was very sad as I am today, that they murdered my brother Yasin in cold blood and did not allow me to bury him. They told me about my other comrades who were also incarcerated and I kept praying for them. (Of course every visitor had to speak to me in the presence of military personnel.) Although I was very pleased to see all visitors, when I was released, I read the comments which some of the visitors made to the press (particularly government officials). I felt sad that we have a lot of dishonest, cold people who don’t care riding on someone’s tragedy for political capital. I want to believe that we are better than that, dear Ugandans.

Anyway, while at Makindye I was briefed that I was expected in court on 23rd August, about nine days after I was taken there. Some military doctors continued to come in to inject me, wash my wounds and give me pain killers. At night on two occasions, I was put into military vehicles and driven to Kampala Imaging Centre for scans. I could not object or even ask questions. I am worried because one of the machines seemed very dangerous. As soon as I was placed into it and it was switched on, the doctors ran to a safe distance and started seeing me from a small window. It was there that the radiologist told me how one of my kidneys and back had been damaged during the assault. I was however not given any written medical report by the military.

It was clear they wanted me to appear in better shape at the next time of my court appearance and they did everything possible to achieve that. A day or two at Makindye, this guy was candid. He told me it was in my interest to eat well, take in all the medicine and look better by 23rd or else they would not allow the press to see me and I would be remanded again until I was presentable enough! They even forcefully shaved my hair and beards. When I hesitated, this soldier told me, ‘gwe osaaga’ (You are kidding). Two of them held my hands from behind and shaved me by force. At some point, they insisted I must wear a suit for my next appearance before the court martial and asked me to tell my wife to bring me one. I also insisted that I did not have it. At another point I hesitated to allow some eye drops for my right eye which was very red and swollen. I always wanted to know what drugs I was being given. These guys held my arms from behind and one of them literally poured the entire bottle into my eye! Later, the military doctor also provided me with a crutch to aid me in walking. At that point, I was able to stand up, although with difficulty. When you hear all this you may think that all our soldiers are brutal. Far from that, most of them are wonderful people. There are many I interacted with during this ordeal who were extremely professional and sympathetic. It was hard to comprehend how people serving the same force, putting on the same uniform could be very different in appreciation and approach to a citizen of Uganda.

When I was taken back to Gulu on 23rd, I was very happy to see the people who came to court including family members, comrades in the struggle and lawyers. I cannot explain how I felt when the lawyer for the army said that charges of unlawful possession of firearms had been dropped. I did not feel vindicated. I was not excited. I was not moved. I just cannot explain how I felt. I just remembered what these people had done to me and tears came to my eyes. Shortly after, I was rearrested right in front of the courtroom and taken to Gulu prison. At the military prison, I was wearing a red uniform – this time, I was given a yellow one.

Friends, you cannot believe that you can be happy to be in prison but that day I was. I was very happy to leave solitary military confinement and meet up with colleagues who were being held at the Gulu prison. That night I was taken to Lachor hospital in Gulu- other tests and scans were conducted. At that point I was feeling better, especially psychologically since I had reunited with my comrades in the struggle.

Later that night the prison authorities decided to take me into the sickbay as opposed to staying with the other comrades. The other comrades led by Hon. Wadri protested. I could hear them bang the doors of their cell. The following day I was allowed to stay with them. The following day I was allowed to stay with them. This is when I interacted with the other 32 colleagues who had been arrested in the Arua fracas. Being in the same prison ward with Hon. Gerald Karuhanga, Hon. Paul Mwiru, Hon. Kassiano Wadri, Hon. Mike Mabike, John Mary Sebuufu and many other comrades made it feel like a boarding school. It was not a very happy reunion though. Because of the torture some of our comrades had been permanently injured. I cannot forget the pain which Shaban Atiku was going through. He spent every day and night groaning. The doctors had told him he would never walk again because his back had been permanently broken. Sadly, the world may never know him, but he will never go out of my mind. He would later collapse during a court session at Gulu. When I later met the women who were brutalised, it was very painful to see them and listen to their stories.

Many times we joked about the possibility of being hanged if the regime decided to give us the maximum penalty of the offence we had been charged with! This got many of our comrades silent.

Away from these sad moments, the overall prison leader had a box guitar in the ward and together we sang songs of freedom all night. This was the routine every night until we appeared before the Gulu High Court a few days later, for our bail hearing.

My next communication will be a vote of thanks to the world for the overwhelming support and comradeship. I will also talk about what I think we must do together to continue this struggle for liberty and freedom.

I am glad that authorities finally have bowed to your pressure and #HonZaake has been given bond to travel for urgent specialised treatment and I join the world to demand authorities to #FreeEddyMutwe and other political prisoners. WE SHALL OVERCOME.

PS:
1. Please ignore calls from my phone number (0752013306). It was taken from me by soldiers and am told they’re using it to call my friends pretending it is me.

2. Please ignore any communication from other social media accounts and pages under my name apart from this one (with a blue tick) and my verified twitter account (also with a blue tick).

Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine

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FAMOUS QUOTES FROM JUDITH NABAKOOBA


Former Police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba the newly elected Woman MP Mityana District

Former Police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba the newly elected Woman MP Mityana District


1-We know that Al-Shabab is going to attack Nakumatt over Christmas and we advise everyone to be ready

2- The child drank poison (DOOM) and died on the way to hospital, however Police are now investigating the cause of the death.

3-Police recovered nothing from the site. Relatives of the victims should collect their personal effects at police

4-We are closely monitoring the situation and shall update you at a the inconvenient time

5-The armed robber was shot dead and is now in critical condition fighting for his life.

6-The Vehicle was burnt to recognition.

7-We cannot disclose their identity because it will jeorpardise our investigations, however one of the gang members is Siraj Namanya who is popular around Katanga.

8-The vehicle rolled five times killing all the passengers, however three of them survived and are now recovering in hospital.

9-Police is in the know of a plot by Lukwago and Kasibante to insight people but we shall be there to support them

10-All the 5 robbers were shot dead but we have apprehended one and he is undergoing questioning

11- A famous prostitute has been chloroforming drinks with drugs!

MUSEVENI RAIDS COURT AGAIN – FROM BLACK MAMBA TO KIFEESI


BY SARAH NALUKENGE VIA UAH FACEBOOK GROUP

Uganda’s military dictator, Museveni has once again raided courts of law in a wider scheme coerce judicial officers into submission as a judicial arm of his regime. Unlike the Police and Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) which he has fully incorporated into his dictatorial regime, the judiciary still has some pockets of judicial officers who are determined to act professionally. Like in any other African dictatorship, the Museveni dictatorship treats members of the legal fraternity are as enemies of the state simply because they ‘undermine’ his schemes of manipulating the the rule of law. Like has been the case with Journalists, the legal fraternity under Museveni has borne the brunt of the military dictator.

BLACK MAMBA

The name Black Mamba was coined by the members of the public following a nasty incident in November 2005 when Museveni deployed hooded commandos donning black T/shirts and wielding Israel made Macro Garill machine guns raided the High Court to reverse a court order. These were commando soldiers under CMI who had been trained and armed by Israel retired army officers. It was on November 16th, 2005 when the High Court of Uganda granted bail to 14 civilians whom the Museveni regime had been accusing of treason in connection with the shadow PRA rebel group and linking them to opposition leader, Dr. Besigye. Before the suspects could regain their freedom, these heavily armed commandos besieged the High Court premises taking hostage all the top brass of the third arm of the state (judiciary), the suspects, their relatives and friends and other innocent people. The commandos forcefully arrested the 14 suspects and whisked them away before slamming terrorism charges on them before the General Court Martial the following day and remanded. The act received condemnation from all corners of the globe with the donor community cutting some aid. Later in Jan 2006 the the Constitutional Court ruled that the continued trial of the 14 suspects in the military court martial was illegal and ordered for their release but Museveni simply ignored the ruling and continued to hold the suspects in detention. The matter came to pass and it did not take long for Museveni to arrange another raid a year later.
ALLEGORY
On March 1, 2007, Museveni deployed about 50 plain clothed security officers who raided the same High Court and rearrested five men whom court had just granted bail after they had spent 15 months on remand. During the scuffle, Lawyers, Journalists relatives of suspects and top judicial officers were subjected to a scuffle that left Advocate Kiyemba Mutale seriously assaulted by a senior police officer. The siege ended at around 8.30 p.m when the five victims attempted to leave the court premises in the company of the Deputy Chief Justice and the Principal Judge were brutally arrested them. They were taken to Bushenyi and Arua and charged with Murder. All the top Judicial officers condemned the act before they together with the lawyers went on strike for one week. The Minister of Internal Affairs, then Hon Rugunda described the strike as “an unwarranted decision” before adding that the government was investigating the matter and that appropriate action was to be taken after the results. Like had been the case with the 2005 raid by the Black Mambas, this incident was swept under the carpet and no one was made to account.

In July 2013, former Coordinator of Intelligence services, Gen. David Ssejusa while appearing on VOA told the world that the 2005 invasion of the High Court could not have occurred without the express authority and instructions of the highest office (Museveni). The then Chief Justice, Benjamin Odoki in an interview with The Daily Monitor said that “…….if I had been in the country, the situation would have been different. The precincts of the court are sanctified, they are sacred. Its like an embassy, you don’t go to the American Embassy and arrest anybody”.

On 9th July 2016, Museveni deployed unruly youthful urban goons to attack the second arm of government (parliament) in protest against the summoning of his police chief by the parliamentary committee on Defense and Internal Affairs. As they fiercely fought with a rival faction, the brutal police which is usually brutal against other protesters just looked on because the goons had the express authority and instructions of the highest office (Museveni). The incident was swept under the carpet and the following day Museveni organized, facilitated and deployed more goons to attack the Chief Magistrates Court at Makindye. The court was scheduled to hear a matter where Museveni’s Police chief was accused of torturing citizens and he refused to appear in court but instead he implemented Museveni’s instructions of sending goons to terrorize the trial Magistrate and advocates. The goons threatened to lynch the advocates who had taken refuge in the Chief Magistrate and had to only be evacuated by the riot police in anti riot police cars amidst manhandling by the goons leaving their personal cars behind. One Advocate who dared to escape using his personal car had his car stoned and damaged by the same goons. The police just looked on and no such goon has been arrested. The Police issued a statement commending those goons for abiding by the law “The Uganda Police Force appreciates the fact that the group of demonstrators at the Grade I Magistrates’ Court in Makindye today complied with the requirement of the Public Order Management Act (S.5) of notifying the police so as to obtain guidance and security during the demonstration.” The Chief Justice has condemned the raid on Makindye Court “…..whoever is mobilizing supporters to come and disrupt court proceedings should stop”. The Uganda Law Society has also condemned the act and threatened to compile a list of those who are torturing citizens into the book of shame before calling for an expeditious inquiry into the siege of Makindye court. This was the best statement Museveni

Whatever the case, Museveni has realized that Ugandans are hopeless, helpless and toothless and can therefore do any mischief with impunity in pursuit of his hold on power. Fellow country men and women just prepare for more serious mischief as the officers of court prepares more sweet statements.

One can not put anything beyond the Ugandan Police!


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I thought Kayihura has all the guns, money and the support of the Appointing Authority. I thought this would be the time to clear his name and clean the image of the police. Although I was disappointed with the way things turned out, I was not surprised. One can not put anything beyond the Ugandan Police. Officer Baguma’s saga tells it all. In the past it was unthinkable that the Police force would do anything to shield somebody suspected of facilitating a murder or being negligent of his duty from prosecution. One wonders why he opted to use the goons or allow the goons invade the court. Anyway he is on record to have applauded the goons and the criminals in the police force he heads for beating up the helpless citizens.

Populist approaches to purely legal matters may not be of any benefit any one. One can never know when the very populist approach will work against such a person. It is a dangerous approach this highly learned friend chose take knowing very well that everyone needs the law to accord him or her a fair hearing. A mob justice does not solve anything. When you allow goons and mobs to work with and even be part of the police force, then you know something has gone totally wrong.

Let us pray for him but most importantly for our country so that we don’t go down that path. We have been there before. And the experience was not a good one. During the Obote’s second regime it were the men in police uniform that would organize “panda gari” raids and send citizens to fields where they were screened, the unlucky ones tortured and others killed. The police force that was supposed to protect people and their lives in the first place was the very force organize for their disappearance and possible death. And after that they would claim to be protecting people and their property. Hope we are not about to witness history repeating its self.

My honest prayers for you all.

DR.IBRAHIM SENDAGILE
USA

STOP COOPERATING WITH THE POLICE SINCE THEY’RE ONLY FOR NRM AND MUSEVENI


BY MAYIMUNA NABAGEREKA

A police force should be protecting us but its not , and I dont know why Ugandans are still cooperating with on various issues.The Police cannot continue to lord it over the public if they are not perceived to work for them. The people’s reaction to stop cooperating with them is warranted: it may be extreme, but it will be a protest against government’s irresponsibility. Firefighters should also be chased from accident scenes when they arrive too late. For me, it will be refreshing to see Ugandans showing greater boldness in demanding their rights. As a nation, we are too timid.

How the Police view themselves is crucial. So, the change of paradigm from force to service is required. Is the idea that the Police organisation is not effective/efficient because of lack of resources valid? It is true that when you go to the Police stations you find them in varying states of dilapidation, if you go to ICT crime departments you find them with no working computers, etc., etc. But is this situation real or manufactured? Could the Police leadership do something about that if they wanted to?

KAYIHURA’S POLICE OFFICER ON UAH REACTS TO ARTICLE 79 OF THE CONSTITUTION


immaculate
‘I had earlier decided not to communicate on this forum but thanks to you for doubting the legal knowledge of my boss-you have forced me to come back. I realise it’s your knowledge of the Uganda laws that is lacking. You need to know that there are different laws in this country. Article 79 of the constitution is particular on one type of la-Acts of Parliament. There are statutory instruments which are laws not made by parliament but by a person or body authorised to do so under an Act of Parliament. For instance Ministers in government can make statutory instruments-these are laws!, KCCA has made bye-laws-these are laws!, Organisations also have laws in their respective constitutions and regulations governing both their operations and relationships between the members of the organisation. Thus the IGP’s remarks are not in anyway contrary to what Article 79 of the constitution provides. Party constitutions also have laws!. Interpreting 79 to mean that it covers all the laws is to display ignorance about the various laws applicable in a country.’—Musiimenta Immaculate.

“Political party constitutions [read NRM] are part of the body of law in this country” — IGP Gen. Kale Kayehura

VETTING THE UGANDA POLICE WONT HELP


BY ROBUKUI
Introduction
Last week a Police Constable Julius Mugambagye attached to Mbarara Police Station shot dead four people over a love affair. He was formerly a member of the Local Administration Police (LAP) that was dismantled and integrated into the Uganda Police Force (UPF). As usual immediately after this incident for fear that the it could spark off the much feared civil disobedience, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen Kayihura rushed to the scene of crime. He addressed the residents and dished out cash handouts to the families of the deceased. In his ADDRESS, he expressed regrets over integration of former LAP into the UPF without adequate training. He promised that all police officers were to be subjected to fresh vetting to wipe out the undisciplined and unprofessional thus: “We can not tolerate this. All Police persons are to be subjected to fresh vetting to remove the undisciplined, those with criminal mind and character and the non patriotic.” He ordered that all former LAP personnel be taken for fresh training in Yumbe. He cited patriotism among the few benchmarks for one to be a Police Officer but fell short of disclosing that they were to undergo political indoctrination under the guise of fresh training.

Privatising the Uganda Police Force

When Museveni came to power in 1986 he inherited a Police force that was dominated by people hailing from the northern and north eastern regions though the force had a a good number of personnel hailing from the other regions. He viewed the entire force as being hostile to his regime the same way he it had been the case with the Judiciary and the entire legal fraternity. That way, the army took over policing with Gen Aronda’s team stationing itself at the Central Police Station (CPS). In the countryside, Civil Intelligence Officers (CIO) – the old version of the present District Internal Security Officers (DISO) took over running of police stations. His desperate efforts to recruit loyalist cadres into the police force around 1987 did not make any impact save for a few like Cadre Turyagumanawe. As time went on his conflict with the police escalated to the extent that he one time publicly told them that unless they learnt to vote wisely,their welfare would never improve.

He initiated the Julia Sebutinde commission in order to target and eliminate certain individuals in the Police force. He deployed Gen Katumba Wamala not to improve the force’s performance but to give way for ‘his own’ Gen Kaziini to rise to the position of Army Commander. At the time it was Gen Ivan Koreta and Gen Katumba Wamala who were most qualified to replace Gen JJ Odong as Army Commander. For the same purpose Gen Koreta was diverted to Internal Security Organisation (ISO). At the same time the rising star in the Police force, Inspector Fred was diverted to peace keeping in South Sudan. While at the helm of the Police, Gen Katumba Wamala was accused of mobilising logistics from City tycoons to facilitate community policing – a move Museveni described as “nonsense”. By the time both Gen Katumba and Gen Koreta returned to the mainstream military service, Gen Kaziini had raised to the position of army commander. The same way Gen Aronda had been assigned to the privatisation of the army scheme, Museveni appointed Gen Kayihura turn it into a coercive arm of his ruling NRM clique.

Intergrating LAP into UPF
As part of the wider privatisation scheme of the security forces, the traditional LAP was integrated into the UPF. The Uganda Police Force is provided for by Art 211 of the Constitution thus: “There shall be a police force to be known as the Uganda Police Force and such other police forces in Uganda as parliament may by law prescribe.” The LAP had been provided for under the Local Government Act Cap 243 S.179 thus: “Local Government Police and Prisons existing at the enactment of this Act shall CONTINUE in existence until a new law covering them is enacted.” The Police Act Cap 303 S.67 provided for LAP to be under the local government system but for matters of training and standardisation placed under the responsibility of the IGP. The Police (Amendment) Act 2006 amended the principal Police Act, S. 67 thus:

INTERPRETATION:
Police Authority means:-
(b) In relation to Local Administration Police, the administration of the area in which that force is
established.

S. 67A(1) A local Administration Police force existing immediately before the commencement of
this Act shall continue to exist in accordance with this Act and shall be fully integrated into the
Police Force as a Local Administration Police.

S. 67A(3) Local Administration Police shall be under the command and control of the IGP who
shall be responsible for all its operations.

S. 67A (4) The Local Administration Police shall:
(a) Receive the same training as officers of the Uganda Police Force.

S. 67A (5)
(b) Assist the local government in collection and safe keeping of money collected by
division councils.
(c) Work with Chiefs and Local Councils as may be required in the enforcement of law
and order.

S. 67A(6) Local Administration Police shall be appointed by the respective authorities under the
Act.

Going by the above, it is the IGP to blame for the alleged lack of training and professionalism by the former LAP personnel. However, the issue is not lack of training and professionalism but the erosion of discipline orchestrated by institutional impunity and protectionism. Just during the same time of the Mbarara incident, there was a similar incident in Jinja where the Police and the so called Crime Preventers OPENED fire to unarmed traders who had a scuffle with tax officials and injured two. The Police at the scene were under the command of the District Police Commander Apollo Kateba. In retaliation, the traders also descended on one of the crime preventers whom they almost lynched to death. The Regional Police Commander disclosed that two of his officers had been arrested for shooting people adding that they should have used their training to contain rioters. This phenomena of District Police Commanders leaving their stations to oversee small operations by their men alludes to the much feared civil disobedience. Its for the same reason that the other day the DPC of Old Kampala was involved in chasing the innocent journalist on the street before attempting to murder him. The Police Commanders are under briefing to be on the look out and not to take any incident for granted thus acting under pressure.

Its not only LAP that was integrated into the Uganda Police Force; all the different auxiliary forces that had been created in different parts of the country ended up in the Police force as Special Police Constables without going through the formal police recruitment and training. Currently the drive is targeting millions of NAZI GESTAPO like secret police in the form of Crime Preventers. As part of the reaction to the Mbarara shooting incident, plans were announced to recruit and train 23370 Crime Preventers throughout the district. But AGAIN how does a Local Administration Police personnel from Bunyaruguru end up serving in Kotido in Karamoja. The suspect Mugambagye Julius had just been transferred to Mbarara from Karamoja shortly before the incident.

Essence of vetting
Periodic vetting of Police officers would be a healthy move if it was done in good faith. In Kenya it is provided for in the constitution under Art. 246 and the S.7(2) and (3) of the National Police Service Act. It is carried out by the National Police Service Commission who invites the public to provide INFORMATION that may assist in determining the suitability and competence of officers. The overall objective is to build confidence and trust in the national Police service. The APPLICABLEvetting standards include officers satisfaction of entry and training requirements, their professional conduct and discipline, integrity financial probity, and respect for human rights. Those who satisfy the commission are retained and those whose integrity is found lacking are removed from the service. The last such vetting in Kenya was carried out in late 2013 through early 2014 when some heads rolled.

Therefore the vetting Kayihura is talking about is a purge to get rid of those suspected not to be fully loyal to Museveni’s life presidency project.

INFORMATION IS POWER.

Keep it Shut, Nantaba, or Somebody will shut it for U- Gen.Kayihura


I have read in the New Vision of, Friday, 16th August 2013, a story titled,”Nantaba and General Kayihura lock horns over Kayunga land” and I was, also, informed of utterances that the Hon Nantaba made on a Bukedde TV programme “Agataliko Nfufu”. (I was out of the country so I did not watch the programme myself.)

This is not the first time Hon Nantaba has made outbursts against me, and the Uganda Police in respect of land conflicts. However, being disciplined we have, hitherto, restrained ourselves to respond directly, through the media, to her false accusations, opting instead to channel our grievances to appropriate authorities. However, as it is becoming a pattern, and as the falsehoods could be believed if not countered (a prominent and effective propagandist in wartime Europe in the 1940s said that if you tell a lie repeatedly it becomes the truth), we have this time decided to respond.

To begin with, I find it wrong that an Hon Minister of government should choose to use the media to address whatever problems she has with the Inspector General of Police and the Uganda Police. Instead of going to the media to speculate and utter falsehoods, based on misinformation, she could have easily established whether my current work in Kayunga is an assignment to me by H.E. the President or not. Instead of the media smear campaign against me, if am involved in any wrong doing as she claims, surely the Hon Nantaba knows the disciplinary authorities, and channels of Government to bring me and the Police to book!! I don’t want to believe (as I could be tempted to do) that Hon Nantaba has some sinister agenda targeting me as a person.

To put the record straight, as I publicly stated in all the public meetings I held in Kayunga district, I am on assignment by H.E. the President to carry out specific tasks. My first task was to deliverthe message of H.E. the President to both the landlords, and tenants that they should tell the truth in respect of their allegations against each other; as well as claims and counterclaims of ownership/interests in the different farms/lands under investigation by the committee of Hon Nantaba. Evidently, this is after H.E. the President discovered through sample on spot investigation that both the landlords and the tenants were not being exactly truthful either to the Committee of Hon Nantaba or, even, directly to himself. I carried out that task of delivering the message of H.E. the President, although it was unpalatable to some.

My second task is to investigate all the allegations, and whoever is not telling the truth is held criminally liable. I have reinforced the team of detectives who, incidentally, have been in Kayunga district, for some time, investigating earlier complaints to the President, by both landlords and tenants, when he last visited the district. I have put the team under the new Commandant of the Land Protection Police Unit (LPPU), Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Fred Enanga. They have expanded their scope of investigation in light of the fresh Presidential assignment, and the investigation is proceeding well.

My third task is to ensure law and order, given that the President was getting reports, for example that cattle on one farm had been cut, and there was general tension. Indeed, there were incidents of cutting of cattle, as well as a violent attack on a manager of a farm. Incidentally, before the President visited Kayunga, there were cases of houses being set on fire, and cattle and other animals being cut. These incidents were telecast on different TV stations, and they should be available for anybody interested. I have no reason to disbelieve the findings of the Committee of Hon Nantaba (by the way on which Police is represented, initially by Commissioner of Police (CP) Kototyo, and now ACP Fred Enanga) that injustices were committed by landlords on the tenants. However, the remedy must be through the due process of law and NOT through lawlessness and anarchy.

In fact, my first disagreement with the Hon Nantaba was when she ordered that the Police should, forcibly, take out cattle and other animals from two farms under dispute to give way to allocations pieces of land to bibanja claimants, and that the cattle should be herded in a cattle market in Bbaale, Galilaya, Kayunga district. On different occasions, when I learnt of it, I opposed that decision (which, by the way, our representative on the committee, CP Kototyo, should have opposed) because of two reasons. One, it was a wrong procedure in law because, legally, the respective owners of the animals were still the titled owners of the farms/lands.

In my judgment, the proper procedure should have been the following

· first cancel the title, and therefore dispossess the landlord of ownership, and order him/her to give vacant possession to government

· second, give him reasonable notice and time for him to remove his property, including the animals, in an orderly way, which would be witnessed by the Police and

· third, subsequently, give possession of the land to whoever was considered by the committee to be the rightful owners.

Two, the Police was being compelled to take on a responsibility which we were not able to carry out: herding and looking after the cattle. We did not have capacity (financial and technical) to look after the animals, even that could have been the correct thing to do, which, of course it was not. Moreover, we would be taking on responsibility, under law,for the animals, and should be prepared to compensate the owners in the event that the animals died or were stolen. Indeed, Hon Nantaba knows the position of the President on this matter, and should stop using me as a scapegoat.

In fact, to avoid the risk of government taking on undue responsibility, and even legal claims, with the guidance of H.E. the President, where there are such disputes, a temporary arrangement has been put in place whereby both landlords and tenants can, temporarily remain on the respective lands (coexist), but separated by barbed wire, which the landlord must put in place, each side engaging in their activities without interference or conflict. This is to ensure that there is law and order, as both sides await the final verdict of H.E. the President.

Clearly, this is my mission and assignment, which in any event is consistent with the duties mandated to the Uganda Police by the Constitution of Uganda, and I believe that is the reason the President assigned me the tasks as Head of Police.

In spite of this, however, Hon Nantaba in her outburst accused me of siding with landlords in Kayunga to “illegally” evict peasants from their land. She alleges that my intervention is to undermine her efforts, threatening to resign on my account. She even insinuates that I have personal interests in the land conflicts in Kayunga.

To the contrary, as I have explained above, our work is mutually supportive. Rather than consider me a liability, Hon Nantaba should consider the work that we are doing to be supportive and reinforcement of her work. In all my public statements in Kayunga, I was careful to underline that. Unlike her, my statements are respectful to her and a recognition of the good work she is doing. In fact, even in the instances where the committee has made mistakes, I told the public that it was the responsibility of the Police for not advising Hon Nantaba properly. However, personally, in my short and direct interaction with Hon Nantaba I have given candid advice and made appropriate interventions to uphold the law. If she found my advice wrong she should have engaged me or involved others in the matter but NOT to conduct a smear campaign on radios, and TVs to malign and tarnish based on lies.

I want to state, categorically, that in all my decisions/actions in respect of land conflicts in Kayunga and for that matter anywhere else, am not partisan, and/or personal, in favour of the landlords and against peasants or bibanja holders. Am as indignant (if not more) indignant against injustices irrespective of who is the victim, and I have a demonstrated record to prove it. I have never had, (and I have not intention of acquiring) even a single acre of land in Kayunga district. It is, indeed, malicious and evil for anyone, later on, a leader, to spread such malicious falsehoods.

Having said that, however, as Inspector General of Police, and, indeed as the Uganda Police, we shall continue the work of ensuring that there is law and order in the country, and that the rule of the law in Uganda prevails.

Otherwise, I have not locked horns with Hon Nantaba as suggested by the New Vision, and in spite of her attacks. I want to assure Hon Nantaba that I, personally, and the Uganda Police in general support her in her fight to redress past wrongs, if that is her agenda. But am afraid, in doing so, it is incumbent on us to ensure that whatever is done is within the law. That is the minimum. Hooliganism cannot be the response to redressing wrongs committed by hooliganism. The response must be to assert the authority of the law.


Gen Kale Kayihura

Inspector General of Police

Statement on Public Order Management Bill by Hon. ( Amb) James Baba


BACKGROUND.

1. As you may be aware, the Public Order and Management Bill (POMB), 2011 was recently passed and now awaits assent by His Excellency the President, after which it will be an enforceable law in Uganda. While such processes regarding the bill are still underway, Government is seeking to highlight its core aspects to help the public understand it better. This is because the NRM Government realizes that new laws such as the POMB are better enforceable, if they are well understood by various stakeholders and the general public.

2. To put the POMB into context, on 27th May 2008, the Constitutional Court made a ruling in Constitution Petition No. 9/06, Muwanga Kivumbi vs Attorney General, annulling Section 32 (2) of the Police Act. This section empowered the Inspector General of Police to prohibit public assemblies or demonstrations where the assemblies or demonstrations posed a likelihood to the breach of peace. The Court found that the powers given to the Police in this section were discretionary, prohibitive and not regulatory. The Police therefore no longer has the power to prohibit a procession or an assembly even if it was likely to degenerate into violence and disorder.

3. It should however be noted that whereas Court annulled Section 32 (2) of the Police Act, Section 32 (1) was retained and it gives power to the Police to REGULATE and direct the conduct of assemblies and processions in public places. Thus, the POMB does not prohibit public gatherings but seeks to regulate them for the greater public interest and common good of all.

4. As members of the “fourth estate”, I hope you will be Government’s partners in disseminating this Statement and the contents of the POMB which I will highlight shortly so that any gray areas there-in are explained and clarified for every citizen and stakeholder to appreciate.

ISSUES IN THE POMB.

5. Broadly, the POMB is intended to regulate public meetings and to provide for the duties and responsibilities of the Police, the Organizers of public meetings and the people who participate in them, taking care of those who may be affected by such meetings. The term regulate as defined in the Bill, is to ensure that conduct and behavior conforms to the requirements of the Constitution and the law. Thus, I need to emphasise here that the Bill does not require of organisers of such public gatherings to seek for permission to have them BUT rather spell out modalities for managing their conduct.

6. Indeed, the Bill guarantees the right to assemble and demonstrate peacefully and unarmed as granted by the Constitution and the law. It emphasises the responsibility for security and public safety in excercising the fundamental rights and freedoms. The Bill also lays out measures aimed at safeguarding public order without compromising the principles of democracy, freedom of association or assembly and freedom of speech. It also provides for the Police to protect the persons and the property of the persons engaged in demonstrations, processions, assemblies or public meetings and other members of the public affected by the meeting.

7. The Bill enjoins us to observe the fundamental rights and freedoms of others who may not be participating in such public meetings and demonstrations in exercise of their rights not to participate. For instance, it requires of organizers of public gatherings to manage them such that they do not disrupt economic activities of others, say market vendors, along highways and activities in central business areas of urban centers.

8. For spontaneous gatherings involving public figures like members of parliament or religious or cultural leaders are often mobbed by their constituents whenever they go visiting. Here the requirement of notification will not apply for such unplanned unscheduled or unintended gatherings. The only consideration for law enforcers is to check that the gathering is not in a place that is already booked or is not suitable for traffic or crowd control.

9. The Bill also seeks to ensure that even when public gatherings are held, acceptable levels of civility are guaranteed. This is cognizant of the possibility of a gathering, which may have been intended to be peaceful getting charged and spiraling into violence, loss of lives and needless destruction of property. Those of you who witnessed the 2007 “Mabira riots” in Kampala concur with me that public gatherings, if not properly regulated, can indeed degenerate into chaos, loss of lives and damage to property. On several occasions, the “walk-to-work” protests of 2012, after being joined by criminal minded elements also tended to degenerate into chaos, disruption of business activity, destruction of property and cases of outright looting! It is such unintended and costly incidences, that the POMB seeks to address so that organizers and participants enjoy their right to public gatherings, but to also have safe-guards that ensure civility and order for everyone all around.

10. The POMB is also intended to have orderliness particularly at popular venues for hosting public gatherings like play grounds and open parks or gardens. The requirement to notify the Police when fulfilled, will ensure that a possible clashing of such gatherings with potential for conflict is avoided. This is because Police who receive documented notifications of intention to host gatherings on a first come, first served basis, would be in position to advise on whether or not a particular venue is available on a given particular date and time. Ordinarily, if the venue is available, the proposed gathering would be held while an alternative venue or date and time would have to be sought if the venue in question is already booked and not available. This is particularly required, for instance during campaigns when schedules of competing candidates must be harmonized, in order to avoid possible clashing at venues.

11. I need to emphasise here that the realm of the POMB does not encompass private gathering like funerals, parties, nightclubs, weddings and prayer sessions in places of worship! Such gatherings are exempt from the ambit of the POMB. However, for purposes of security and orderliness, it is only advisable that organisers of such gathering put in place sufficient security measures, including engaging the Police. Indeed, I have noted that some organisers of private functions are already undertaking such security measures. It has become more or less a standard requirement to address such security concerns at private functions by involving law and order agencies. This is important so as to ensure that tragic incidents like the one at Kyadondo Rugby Club where dozens of lives were lost in a terror attack in June 2010 do not re-occur in Uganda.

CONCLUSION.

12. It is true that the Constitution under Article 29(1) (d) provides for the right to assemble and demonstrate. However, this right is qualified and not absolute. This means that as an individual seeks to enjoy and exercise this right, they ought to put into consideration the rights of others. As we enjoy our rights, we should not inconvenience or trample on the rights of others. It is the Constitutional duty of the Police to ensure that any one excercising their rights and freedoms does so peacefully and unarmed. Article 43 of the Constitution provides a general limitation to the fundamental and other human rights and freedoms. It provides as follows:-

13. 43 (1) In the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms prescribed in this Chapter, no person shall prejudice the fundamental or other human rights and freedoms of others or the public interest. Therefore, POMB forms part of the legal framework in which this Constitutional provision is operationisable, in as far as public gatherings are concerned.

14. We have a separate document with the specific legal provisions for the issues I have elaborated here. Copies of that document are available for you to review further and internalize. I thank you so much for listening to me.

Hon. ( Amb) James Baba

MINISTER OF STATE FOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS

THE KAYIHURA-PUBLIC ORDER MANAGEMENT BILL: ”DICTATORSHIP” CONFIRMED IN WRITING?


1. INTRODUCTION

The Public Order Management Bill, 2011 was passed by Parliament on 6th August, 2013.

The Bill will become an Act of Parliament when the President gives his assent to it.

2. BACKGROUND

On 27th May 2008, the Constitutional Court made issued a ruling in the constitutional petition No. 9/06 of Muwanga Kivumbi vs Attorney General annulling section 32 (2) of the Police Act.

Section 32 (2) empowered the Inspector General of Police to prohibit public assemblies or demonstrations where the assemblies or demonstrations posed a likelihood of breach of peace.

According to the Constitutional Court, section 32 (2) of the Police Act authorized the police to prohibit assemblies, rallies or demonstrations and this was inconsistent with article 29 (1) (d) of the Constitution which guarantees the enjoyment of the freedom to assemble and demonstrate. The impugned Section provided as follows;

“If it comes to the knowledge of the Inspector General that it is intended to convene any assembly or form any procession on any public road or street or at any place or public resort, and the Inspector General has reasonable grounds for believing that the assembly or procession is likely to cause a breach of the peace, the Inspector General may, by notice in writing to the person responsible for convening the assembly or forming of the procession, prohibit the convening of the assembly or forming of the procession”.

The Court found that the powers given to the police were discretionary, prohibitive and not regulatory.

As a result of the annulment of section 32 (2) of the Police Act, the Police no longer has the power to prohibit a procession or assembly. The Court further rules that if the Police entertained reasonable belief that some disturbance might occur during the assembly, then police should provide security and supervision in anticipation of the disturbances.

It is also important to note that whereas court annulled section 32 (1), section 32 (2) was retained and it gives power to police to regulate the management of assemblies and processions.

3. THE RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE

The right to assemble and to demonstrate as enshrined in Article 29(i) (d) of the Constitution is not absolute, it is qualified. This right must be enjoyed “peacefully and unarmed”. which means that this right to be enjoyed the above provision of demonstrating peacefully and unarmed should be observed. For Example if a group of people wanted to use a playing ground of a Primary School for demonstration when a scheduled football match is already underway, this may cause conflict of interest and subsequently chaos may ensue. That is why Police must be alert and available to regulate such conflicting freedoms and rights.

In order to fulfill the regulatory role of Police, Government introduced the Public Order Management Bill 2011.

4. CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE OF THE UGANDA POLICE FORCE

Article 212 of the Constitution gives the Uganda Police Force the following mandate;-

a) to protect life and property;

b) to preserve law and order;

c) to prevent and detect crime; and

d) to co-operate with civilian authority and other security organs established under the Constitution and with the population generally.

Therefore, from the Constitution, it is the duty of the police to protect:

a. all persons (organizers, participants) exercising their rights and freedoms to assemble or associate under article 29 of the Constitution;

b. all persons exercising their rights and freedoms NOT to assemble or associate under article 29 of the Constitution;

c. all persons (general public) affected by the actions of the persons exercising their rights and freedoms to assemble or associate under article 29 of the Constitution;

d. all other persons who are either exercising their other rights and freedoms or not.

Regarding assemblies, processions, demonstrations and meetings in places that are accessible or used commonly by every member of the public, the cooperation of the organizers, the local authorities, the owners or operators of venues is necessary to make arrangements for the safe passage and conduct of the assemblies, processions, demonstrations or meetings.

5. PURPOSE OF THE BILL

The object of the Bill is to regulate public meetings, to provide for the duties and responsibilities of the Police, organizers of public meetings and participants. Regulate is defined in the Bill to mean ensuring that conduct or behavior conforms to the requirements of the Constitution and the law.

The Bill also lays out measures aimed at safeguarding public order without compromising the principles of democracy, freedom of association or assembly and freedom of speech.

It is the constitutional duty of the Police to ensure that any person exercising that freedom does so peacefully and unarmed.

Some critics have been saying that the Bill limits the rights of the Ordinary citizens to assemble or demonstrate. This is not true. The Bill is strictly in conformity with the Constitution, and the law.

Article 43 of the Constitution provides a general limitation on the fundamental and other human rights and freedoms in the Constitution. It provides as follows:

“Article 43. General limitation on fundamental and other human rights and freedoms.

(1) In the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms prescribed in this Chapter, no person shall prejudice the fundamental or other human rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.

(2) Public interest under this article shall not permit;-

a) political persecution;

b) detention without trial;

c) any limitation of the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms prescribed by this Chapter beyond what is acceptable and demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society, or what is provided in this Constitution”.

The Constitution therefore requires a balance between the enjoyment of one’s rights and freedoms and not prejudicing the rights and freedoms of others and the general public interest.

In many respects there may be competing interests to use or occupy the same facilities on the same day or even at the same time, this requires that a person who is enjoying his or her right in a public place should enjoy the same protection and guarantee from the Police as the person who wishes to demonstrate or hold a meeting in the same place.

The Bill emphasizes that the standard of peaceful enjoyment of rights and freedoms set by the Constitution should be upheld at all times,

The Bill further provides for the police to protect the persons and the property of the persons engaged in demonstrations, processions, assemblies or public meetings and other members of the public affected by the meeting.


6. HIGHLIGHTS OF SOME SECTIONS OF THE BILL

Some populist politicians are using this Bill to make unfounded allegations and misrepresentation about the meaning of the Bill. In Parliament, the debate on the Bill was exhaustive and whenever there appeared to be an impasse’, consultations were made between the government and the backbenchers both in the ruling party and the opposition.

There was even an Addendum report following those Consultations. For example; on the question on the meaning of the word “regulation”, the Speaker halted the debate, tasked the members of the legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Attorney General to sit and agree on the meaning. This is what led to the Addendum.

Most of the people who are complaining about the Bill are still referring to the old version of the Bill. It is important to note that the Bill that passed was fundamentally amended.

You find that people are still quoting clause 6. It is important to note that the Bill that was passed was substantially altered after taking into account the contributions of various stakeholders. These included: The Uganda Law Reform Commission, The Uganda Law Society, UN Human Rights Commission, different political parties, Uganda Human Rights Commission etc. All the above had their inputs and as a result, over 80% of the original Bill was amended to accommodate most of these concerns.

It is also important to emphasize that the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs which has both members of the ruling party and of the opposition produced a unanimous report. Normally when there is dissent in the Committee, under the Parliamentally rules, the dissent is expressed by a minority report even if it was only one member dissenting. This time there was no minority report.

The report which Parliament debated which formed the basis of the Bill that was passed was informed and indeed reflected the many views expressed by all interested stakeholders in the Bill.

The Clauses that attracted most debate were the follow;-

(a) Notice of public meeting. (clauses, 2 and 7)

In order to regulate public meetings, the Bill provides for an organizer of a public meeting to notify the IGP or an authorized officer of the intention to hold a meeting at least 3 days before the proposed date of the meeting. The debate on notification was between 7 days by the Government side while the opposition proposed instant notification. After debate both sides agreed to 3 days notice as a compromised position.

The notice to the police is necessary since the police has to:

i. prepare for the protection of the organizers and the participants,

ii. to carry out risk assessment on all factors before the public meeting;

iii. to identify and appropriate traffic plan to allow the flow of both vehicles and human traffic;

iv. to direct traffic and the routes to and from the event to prevent obstruction of pedestrians, traffic or lawful business

An organizer of a meeting means any person or his or her agent in charge of calling the public meeting.

A public meeting is defined as a gathering, assembly, procession or demonstration of persons in or on any public place or premises held for the purposes of discussing, acting upon, petitioning or expressing views on a matter of public interest.

The public interest includes anything in which the public or a section of the public has a stake or is concerned about.

The essential elements in regulating public meetings are the place which should be public and the purpose for which the meeting is being held. The Bill therefore exempts social, cultural and religious gatherings and meetings of members of regulated bodies.

The following meetings are also exempted from the requirements of giving notice:

• meetings of organs of a political party or organization convened in accordance with the Constitution of the party or organization and held exclusively to discuss the affairs of the party or organization;

• meetings convened by a group, body or leader of a group or body at the ordinary place of business of that body, group or leader or any other place which is not a public place in the course of the lawful business of the group, body or leader.

The notice required to be given by an organizer should include:

i. the name and address of the organizer

ii. the proposed date and time of the public meeting which should be after 7.00 a.m and not beyond 6.00 p.m.

iii. the proposed site (venue) of the meeting,

iv. the estimated number of persons expected at the meeting,

v. the purpose of the meeting,

vi. indication of the consent of the owner of the venue, where applicable,

vii. and any other relevant information.

(b) Notification by authorized officer (clause

The opposition complained that clause 8 as amended was a re-enactment of S. 32(2) of the Police Act which was annulled by the Constitutional Court. That in effect this gave power of prohibition to the Police. During debate Government conceded that clause 8(1) ( c ) and a (1) (b) discretionary powers to the Police. It was therefore deleted. What remains in clause 8 of the approved bill is a) on notice and b) on suitability and venue.

So, what does Clause 8 provide?

i. The law requires the organizer of the meeting/demonstration to give notice to Police specifying the dates, the time and venue of the public meeting. The Police has no authority to accept or reject the notice. If however the Police has renewed previous notice from another body indicating that they would hold another meeting in the same place, date and time, then the law imposes Police to notify the later organizer that the place is already booked so that, in the interest of security, to reschedule or find another day or venue.

ii. Unsuitability of the venue:

When the venue is considered unsuitable for the meeting because either it is a market place, business centre, hospital, school …. then Police is required to inform the organizer to find an alternative place. This is like a traffic police officer who re-routes traffic to a different direction after noting that the other direction is not suitable due to things like accident ahead or road works. It does not mean that the traffic officer is curtailing the rights to road users to move but he is creating order in the flow and traffic.

Upon receipt of the notice by the organizer, the authorized officer is required to inform the organizer if it is not possible to hold the proposed meeting because of the following reasons:

i. where the authorized officer has received notice of another public meeting on the same date, time and venue;

ii. where the venue is considered unsuitable because of crowd and traffic control or the holding of the public meeting will interfere with other lawful business like legitimate trade.

The organizer is invited to identify an alternative and acceptable venue or to reschedule the meeting to another date or venue.

Authorized officer means the Inspector General of Police (IGP) or an officer acting on his or her behalf.

The Bill provides an appeal mechanism for a person aggrieved by the notification of the authorized officer. The appeal may be made against the notification to a Magistrate in the area where the meeting was scheduled.

(c)Spontaneous meetings (clause 9)

The Bill also provides that spontaneous public meetings may be held without the requirement of notifying the authorized officer.

A spontaneous meeting is defined as an unplanned, unscheduled or unintended public meeting. (Example: A public figure or a leader arriving in their constituency or area of origin or operation and is unexpectedly met by a group of supporters or followers.

While it is not possible to require these meetings to conform to the notice requirements since there may not be an organizer and the meetings are unscheduled, the Bill provides for the authorized officer to disperse the meeting if

i. the authorized officer has received notice of another public meeting on the same date, time and venue;

ii. the venue is considered unsuitable because of crowd and traffic control or the holding of the public meeting is interfering with other lawful business like trade.

(d) Responsibilities of organizers (clause 12)

Since police requires the cooperation of the organizers, the local authorities, the owners or operators of venues to make the necessary arrangements for the safe passage and conduct of public assemblies, processions, demonstrations or meetings, the Bill places specific duties on organizers of public meetings. These include;-

i. adhering to the required notification criteria for holding public meetings;

ii. informing all participants of the traffic or assembly plan and providing a sufficient number of stewards proportionate to the number of participants in a public meeting who shall be clearly identified with name tags;

iii. co-operating with the police to ensure that all participants are unarmed and peaceful;

iv. ensuring that the public meeting is concluded peacefully between 7.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m; and

v. being present at the public meeting and co-operating with the police to maintain peace and order.

(e) Duties of the Police (clause 10)

In order to protect the persons exercising their rights or freedoms to assemble or associate and the general public, the Bill places the following duties on the police:

i. to provide security and safety for both the participants and other members of the public affected by the meeting;

ii. to ensure fairness and equal treatment of all parties by giving consistent responses to organizers of public meetings;

iii. to carry out risk assessment on all factors before the public meeting;

iv. to identify an appropriate traffic plan to allow the flow of both vehicles and human traffic;

v. to direct traffic and the routes to and from the event to prevent obstruction of pedestrians, traffic or lawful business;

vi. to disperse defiant or unruly persons in order to prevent violence, restore order and preserve peace.


CONCLUSION-SUMMARY

1. The Public Order Management Bill as passed by Parliament on 6th August 2013 guarantees the right to assemble demonstrate peacefully and unarmed as granted by the Constitution and the law.

2. The Bill as passed emphasizes the responsibility for security and public safety in exercising these fundamental rights and the freedoms.

3. The Bill also enjoins us to observe the fundamental rights and the freedoms of others who may not be participating in such public meetings and demonstrations in exercise of their rights not to participate.

4. It is not correct to suggest that all the rights and/ or freedoms in the Constitution are absolute. The exercise and the freedoms is relative to the extent that it does not infringe on the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.

5. The Public Order management Bill when enacted aims at ensuring that holding assemblies and demonstrations does not compromise security, law and order. It is also meant to ensure that there is minimum disruption to business as well as smooth flow of human and vehicle traffic throughout the country.

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