Army, police should stop spiral of violence

Thursday November 7 2019

Torture. The Senior Superintendent of Police,

Torture. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Rashid Agero, sprays pepper on Dr Besigye before arresting him in Kireka, a city suburb on Monday. COURTESY PHOTO 

By Editor

In the last three weeks, the country has witnessed a series of violence mainly orchestrated by security forces using unjustifiably excessive force against unarmed civilians.

Makerere University students who were protesting fees increment were battered. Some were plucked out of their halls of residence and hostels, beaten up and arrested. Journalists have not been spared either and have since petitioned the police leadership over brutality. But they were again beaten up and brutalised on Monday as they walked to present their petition.

On same Monday, the police violently broke up a scheduled Opposition meeting of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party at Namboole stadium.

The party’s former presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, was beaten up and nearly disabled by police who fired tear gas and riot water cannons at him.

One of the police commanders Rashid Agero crashed the windscreen of Dr Besigye’s vehicle in a horror-movie style using a gun butt. The police ruthlessness in all these incidents has attracted condemnation from Parliament and civil society. Yesterday police violence continued with confrontations against Opposition officials in Najjanankumbi and some protesters in town.

Police are mandated to protect people, property and ensure law and order, not to harass citizens they are paid to protect.

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The brutality on the Opposition and police insistence that they will not allow their activities, calls into question whether it still makes sense to claim the country is in a multiparty system or for the government to continue funding political parties, which cannot be allowed to meet the public.

It’s sheer waste of taxpayers’ money and government should stop this pretence of democracy and farce of free and fair elections.

It offends common sense to say the country is in implementing multiparty governance when only one party is allowed to meet and talk to the public freely.

The chairman of the ruling party has completed a tour of the country mobilising the electorate to fight poverty and making promises similar to election manifesto pledges, which is apparently a disguised mobilisation campaign for 2021 or at least has an effect of giving him an election advantage in the 2021 race.

This has happened at the same time his competitors are not allowed to even hold a meeting to discuss their plans for 2021 contest.

We cannot achieve true democracy in such circumstances where some aspiring leaders are not allowed to sell their ideas to the electorate and are only limited to the final 90 days the Electoral Commission offers for campaigns.

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