Opposition Members of Parliament from different parties have called upon the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Martins Okoth Ochola to call his officers to order following the brutal arrest and blockage of opposition activities in the country.
Legislators including Roland Mugume Kaginda, Joseph Sewungu, Francis Mwijukye and Fred Turyamuhweza told journalists at Parliament that the recent suppression of activities of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in the areas of Tororo and Jinja is a clear violation of political parties’ rights which are constitutionally provided.
Last week, a number of activities by the former FDC president, Dr. Kiiza Besigye and the party president, Patrick Amuriat Oboi were blocked by Police and other security agencies leaving many of their supporters and members severely injured and others arrested.
Buhweju county MP, Francis Mwijukye said that the members of opposition in parliament will not sit down as people’s rights to assembly and association are trampled upon.
Mwijukye said that the police and other security agencies have gone ahead to abuse the Public Order and Management Act and have continuously blocked the opposition from carrying on with their activities.
“The police have continuously abused the Public Order Management Act, Section 4 which stops them from interfering with the activities of any registered political parties but they have gone ahead to do so. We are registered political parties and our role is to mobilize masses for change but our rights are under attack,” Mwijukye said.
Mwijukye said that despite legislators seeking audience with the IGP over the continuous arrest of their colleagues, all their efforts have been rendered futile as the IGP has refused to allow their audiance.
“The IGP is simply watching and is failing to prevail over his errant officers; he promised he would work to improve on the image of the police but he is simply looking on. He must come up and help the police be professional or he resigns,” Mwijukye said.
The MP revealed that members have petitioned the chairperson of the Human rights committee of Parliament to summon the IGP to explain the actions of his officers who harrass their members.
He also called upon the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) to take interest and investigate all acts of human rights violations that have been recently perpetrated.
Rukungiri Municipality MP, Roland Mugume Kaginda warned government against using security organs should to push Ugandans to the wall, but should pick lessons from the recent activities in the neighouring African countries.
“We shall not sit down, we sound a warning to government, they should pick lessons from the different regims in Africa that have fallen, why have they pushed us to the wall by harassing our members,” Mugume said.
Mugume said that it is quite unfortunate that the NRM government has gone ahead to mobilize its supporters but has made it a project to stop any activity by the opposition.
Rujumbura County MP, Fred Turyahmuhweza condemned Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) who have made it a habbit to interfere with radio programs while opposition figures are on air.
“The roadmap to 2021 elections has already been released and we are in build up activities, why do RDCs disrupt our meetings,” Turyamuhweza said.
Kalungu West MP, Joseph Ssewungu accused Ochola of turning against his word when he appeared before the Parliament Appointments Committee.
“Ochola spoke ill about Kayihura and how he tarnished the police image, he then promised us when he appeared before the appointments committee that he would not suffocate politicians from carrying on their activities accusing Kayihura of misguiding police,” Sewungu said.
He added that political parties are given funding by government to carry on political activities but it is so unfortunate that the same government curtails their freedom to carry out these activities.