Uganda Police Force is out to remove effigies of all presidential candidates from the streets.
“I have got orders from the chairman [of the] Electoral Commission to remove them [effigies],” General Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police, says.
“When the police removes them, don’t start crying foul.”
Gen. Kayihura was speaking an hour ago during a press conference at the Electoral Commission headquarters in Kampala.
He added that the public could as well consider helping the police to remove the effigies to lessen the police’s load.
EC spokesperson Mr Jotham Taremwa later told the Daily Monitor the commission banned the use of effigies in 2010.
“They are not allowed,” Mr Taremwa said.
In 2010, then police commissioner in charge of community affairs, Mr Asuman Mugenyi,said al Shabaab, al Qaeda and the Allied Democratic Front terrorists could use effigies to attack Uganda.
Supporters of the different presidential candidates place effigies of their respective candidates by roadsides or on verandas to indicate their liking for them.
It is mostly common parts of Wakiso District and even Kampala Capital City.
Here, one will find effigies of either the Forum for Democratic Change presidential candidate Kizza Besigye or the National Resistance Movement presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni.
Some supporters go ahead and even put soft drinks or even money besides the effigies.
Aside from banning effigies, Gen. Kayihura added the police are not stopping presidential candidates who campaign well past 6pm because police do not want to be accused of brutality.
“We’ve tried to be restrained. Initially, we wanted to enforce the law as it should be enforced. And where there was resistance, sometimes we do the inevitable, otherwise how do you enforce the law in the face of resistance? But then we saw that some of them were doing it [breaking the law deliberately]. We could see they were courting that,” Gen. Kayihura said.
He said some candidates were disregarding the electoral laws and guidelines to nudge the police to disperse them so that they cry victim, which could bolster their support.
“So we said ‘please, be restrained. Keep warning the candidates. Let the court of public opinion judge them’. They [candidates] want to use it to claim ‘police brutality’. We won’t give them that ammunition. We left the Electoral Commission discipline the candidates. I don’t know whether you [EC] have sanctions in that respect…But on the whole I pray for discipline, especially when the candidates are going to converge on the city…I can tell you we might have to do more than we have been doing. And don’t blame us that, ‘oh, police brutality’. Save us from that one. If you have not yet convinced the people, how are you going to convince them after 6pm?” Gen. Kayihura said.