Police has warned opposition politicians and the general public against participating in the planned protests during the opposition led ‘Red Week Campaign’ on the day of the tabling of final report on the Age Limit Bill in Parliament.
On Friday last week, Opposition Party Presidents Nobert Mao (DP), Patrick Amuriat (FDC) and Asuman Basalirwa (JEEMA) promised to intensify the ‘Togikwatako’ campaign with a similar week-long campaign they dubbed ‘Red Week’.
They rallied all Ugandans to wear red attire and assemble at Parliament on Tuesday (tomorrow) in protest of the passing of a Bill that seeks to have Presidential age limits repealed from the constitution.
“We shall be engaged in a full week of protests against the tabling of the age limit amendment bill,” DP President, Nobert Mao said during a press conference on Friday.
Mao also asked Ugandans to “use whatever they can including putting on red as we match on the streets to defend the constitution.”
However, today, Police Spokesperson SSP Emilian Kayima has issued a warning to politicians in the opposition, saying these protests will be quelled. Kayima said that police has not been notified on the plans to hold the protests which deems them illegal.
“We are aware of the planned riots by sections of political actors. We know that politicians have called upon citizens to come to Parliament on Tuesday as they debate the Bill,” Kayima told journalists on Monday.
“However, none has notified Police and our intelligence has it that they intend to commit crime. These politicians have made it a habit to protest and spoil other people’s things,” he said.
Kayima has appealed to protestors to stay away from Parliament as they will be dealt with. He said that citizens have the power to recall their representatives from Parliament in case they feel the MPs do not represent their views.
“Let MPs debate on views they gathered when they came to you [constituents]. If they don’t represent your views, recall them from Parliament. But rallying at Parliament without the Speakers consent will not be allowed and you will face problems,” Kayima stressed.
Asked about the likely level of deployment, the Police spokesperson was hesitant to divulge specifics, saying “our intelligence will determine the numbers of officers we deploy”.
As to whether those found to be wearing red attire will be arrested as has been witnessed previously, Kayima responded; “Wearing red is not a crime. Part of our work in Article 212 (b) of the constitution is to detect and prevent crime. If our minds tell us crime is about to be committed, we shall prevent it”.
He also said that if deemed necessary, roads surrounding Parliament will be closed off and traffic diverted, urging motorists to abide by the guidelines of traffic police.
Regarding how secure the inside of Parliament will be, to avoid a reoccurrence of the brawl that erupted in September, Kayima commented that police has no jurisdiction inside Parliament.
“That isn’t our place. It is controlled by the Speaker,” he said.