Police has said it will continue to arrest those that violate the law by offending or annoying the person of the President unless such provisions in the law are repealed.
Last week, President Yoweri Museveni blamed to the Police for enforcing a colonial law – annoying the President – instead of focusing on the substance of the acts or intentions of people who commit offences relating to incitement.
He said this while responding to queries from reporters at the Nakasero State Lodge on Thursday last week.
A reporter had asked the President to comment on the charge of “annoying the President”.
The President said he has no problem with being annoyed.
“Annoying the President, I don’t mind being annoyed. I think that was a colonial law which I used to hear about,” the President said.
“I think the issue is not annoying the President. It is those Police people who talk about small issues,” he further stated.
He said the bigger issue should be telling lies and other offences such as sedition, incitement, distortion.
“Police should concentrate on the substance. Like telling lies, incitement and sedition. But a President can be annoyed. If he’s annoyed only, that’s not a big issue”.
However, on Monday, Police spokesperson, CP Fred Enanga said that as far as Police is concerned the law characterizes such actions as offences and the law has to be enforced.
Section 24 of the Penal Code Act protects the President and makes it an offence to alarm or annoy or ridicule the President. The maximum punishment for one found guilty of this offence is imprisonment for life.
“We are guided by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). These are crimes that exist in the law books,” Enanga told reporters on Monday.
He added: “Under the Computer Misuse Act and the Penal Code, there are several provisions. Provided they are not repealed, they still stand”.
Enanga said it is upon the DPP to harmonize such provisions.
“The DPP has the duty to peruse the cases we forward to him, ” he said, adding that in incidents where the DPP has found no case, the suspects have been freed.
Some people including recently, veteran journalist turned Pastor, Joseph Kabuleta have been arrested over charges relating to annoying the President or making statements considered offensive to the President.
Last week when Kabuleta was picked up by detectives at Forest Mall in Lugogo, the Police spokesperson, CP Fred Enanga later confirmed that the Watchman Ministries Pastor had been apprehended because of offensive communication against the person of the President.
Police said Kabuleta repeatedly posted “grossly offensive messages” under “Joseph Kabuleta Weekly Rant Returns” referring to the Fountain of Honour as “a Gambler, Thief and Liar”.