Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has promised opposition political parties that they will never be blocked again by Uganda Police Force while holding their public gatherings.
The Prime Minister promise was as a result of the meeting held between him and Secretary Generals of political parties in Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) and the leadership of the Uganda Police Force.
Last December President Museveni promised opposition a favourable political environment that will allow them to participate perfectly in politics at every level during the first ever IPOD summit in Munyonyo.
However, Museveni’s promises almost two weeks after the Summit were proved were broken when Police arrested Democratic Party’s Moses Bigirwa and other members of the opposition.
Currently, Police have been blocking every public gathering of any opposition party or any politician opposed to the government. This forced IPOD member parties to hold a meeting with the government to discuss the legality of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) which Police has always used to brutalize members of opposition.
In the meeting held on Wednesday in Kampala, Rugunda promised the opposition that government is going to work on the regulations of POMA and soon they will be presented before Parliament, assuring all political players in the country to continue exercising their right to talk to their supporters peacefully.
“Our major aim is to have a peaceful country, therefore there will be no more police clashing with the members of the opposition. Wanayinki want to listen to their politicians so they should be allowed,” said Rugunda.
He also called upon members of the opposition to always follow the stipulated roadmap that was already launched by Electoral Commission.
“There is already a political roadmap that everyone must respect and I want to call upon government and other political parties to respect it so that we work in a cordial manner,” he added.
But Salaam Musumba, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) vice chairperson Eastern region said she doesn’t expect any positive change.
“I don’t expect any change from this meeting because right now FDC members have been blocked in Kalangala. I’m yet to see if Rugunda still holds any powers in Uganda because already Museveni promised the same but he failed to fulfil them,” said Musumba.
Gerald Silanda, the general secretary for DP, expressed his worries on the way Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola uses his docket to violate laws yet he would have been the best example.
“In the meeting where all the top leaders attended, Ochola is absent yet he is the main subject of the meeting. This is impunity of the highest level. This meeting has clearly indicated that Police chief Ochola is above the law,” said Silanda.
He added that police had to be present because they have been using the law which was annulled by the court under article 32 to block their gatherings.
“All the conditions they always ask us are not in the active law, we only need to inform Police and they also need to reply to us within 48 hours which they don’t do. I think the government has to interpret this law in Kiswahili for police officers to understand it,” he added.