Uganda Police Deny Gov’t Interference, Influence

A Uganda police spokesman has denied accusations by opposition and human rights groups that senior government officials or members of the ruling National Resistance Movement party use police officers to deny permits for opposition rallies.

Uganda police refute charges their enforcement tactics are dictated by the government or the ruling party. On March 28, 2012, they detained a supporter of opposition leader Kizza Besigye.
Uganda police refute charges their enforcement tactics are dictated by the government or the ruling party. On March 28, 2012, they detained a supporter of opposition leader Kizza Besigye.

Deputy police spokesman Patrick Onyango defended the role of the Uganda police and rejected criticisms that they use violence to crush opposition demonstrations for better living conditions.

“We are the enforcers of the law. Definitely someone who is always on the wrong side of the law cannot say nice things about the law enforcers,” said Onyango. “The Uganda police force is nationalistic, patriotic, professional, disciplined, competent, and we are productive.”

Onyango’s comments came after opposition groups and human rights organizations urged President Yoweri Museveni to stop his cabinet officials from dragging the police into politics.

Opposition groups say the police often undermine their democratic role as watchdogs for government corruption and mismanagement. Onyango denied the police are being used as a political weapon against opposition groups.

“There is nobody from the ruling party that has directed or influenced police… “ Onyango said.  “The ruling party does not have any influence on the Uganda police force. We are following the law, and we have been asking the opposition to do as the law requires.”

Police want opposition rallies held in playgrounds

Opponents of the ruling party say the police prevent opposition rallies by refusing to grant them necessary permits.

Onyango said opposition groups create disturbances, causing traffic congestion in downtown Kampala and bringing business activities to a halt.

“They want to hold rallies in markets and near trading centers, normally in busy places [which] will affect the business of other people,” said Onyango. “They want to go where people are already there. They don’t want to go and mobilize.

“We normally tell them to please go to the city fields and maybe playgrounds where it is outside the business center, but they normally don’t want to accept that.”

Onyango disagreed with opposition charges the police use unnecessary violence as a means to thwart their protests. “They are the ones who normally begin confronting the police,” said Onyango. “If they don’t confront us, definitely we cannot confront them.

“We use force which is proportionate to the force against us,” the police spokesman said. “So, when they use force, then we also use extra force.”



4 thoughts on “Uganda Police Deny Gov’t Interference, Influence

  1. Police in Uganda are the Soldiers meant to fight,harass and brutalize any person that does not support Museveni’s corrupt Government.

  2. Mr Onyango, Are you saying Nationalistic,Patriotic,Professional,Disciplined,competent and Productive,You are right because being a Puppet and a watch dog for some one who sends you does not surprise any body since you are not accountable to all Ugandans.

  3. I will principally disagree with you Onyango when one needs to hold a community meeting issues to do with accessibility, Distance, free time of the target audience, and space are key to be considered, I don’t believe that when opposition parties want to hold a rally in the city center of course their target is city center dwellers then why take to Bweyogerere. The government has well trained police force able to enforce law and order, hence by dictating where these insignificant opposition parties should hold rallies gives them more political clout. The police just needs to ring fence their venue and allow their supporters listen to the usual trash.

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