Police and it’s sister agencies, has warned the newly formed People’s Front for Transition (PFT) against holding what it termed as unlawful assemblies and meetings in markets and other public areas country wide.
Last week, some members of the opposition led by Dr Kiiza Besigye, launched a new pressure group the People’s Front for Transition.
The politicians said that the pressure group’s main objective is to push president Kaguta Museveni from power without using elections.
Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga, while addressing journalists at the police headquarters in Naguru revealed that they obtained information about plans by the newly formed group to hold unlawful assemblies and meetings.
Enanga said that, although it is a fundamental right to peacefully assemble, all political assemblies and meetings are still restricted under the public Health orders, due to the existence of Covid-19 in the country.
He also informed the organisers that, although Section 8 of the Public Order Management Act, (POMA) as suspended, the other provisions of the POMA are still in existence and have to be fully complied with.
“We will only respect the right of people to assemble, only if we have the full proof of their clearance from the Ministry of Health, on health and safety grounds and further proof of compliance with the requirements of POMA. The organisers from the new pressure group are advised accordingly,” Enanga said.
Last year, the Constitutional Court nullified section 8 of Public Order Management Act which gave discretionary powers to the Inspector General of Police who in turn can delegate or authorize any other officer to stop or prevent the holding of public meetings, Government has since appealed against the ruling.
Enanga, further revealed that the leaders of the pressure group, will have a duty to inform the police, about the date and time of their public meetings; details of the organisers, location and consent of the venue owner, the number of persons expected, purpose and any other basic information justified to ensure the smooth conduct of the public meeting.
“The organisers also have a duty to adhere to the criteria for holding public meetings for example have a traffic assembly plan, provide sufficient stewards proportionate to the number of participants in the public meeting with clearly identified name tags; coordinate and cooperate with the police to maintain peace and order,” he said.
Enanga explained that Besigye and other opposition agents, are taking advantage of the right to peacefully assemble, to cause acts of disorder, lawlessness and mayhem in our major cities and towns.
He noted that the country has for the last 11 months been free from violent protests and demonstrations, and they (Police) intend to keep it peaceful.
“We will not allow any unlawful assemblies to occur. Already plans are in place on how to respond in a discriminate manner, targeting the masterminds, instigators, perpetrators and ring leaders of these unlawful assemblies,” Enanga said.