Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG) Executive Director Sarah Bireete has condemned the increased involvement of security forces in Uganda’s politics. is fundamentally wrong and may lead to unrest in the country.
Appearing on NBS TV’s Frontline show on Thursday, Bireete said that whenever the country is approaching general elections the regime uses security forces to intimidate the public which has created an imbalanced political environment, especially to opposition political players.
Her reactions follow the recent raid on the headquarters of National Unity Platform (NUP) by security agents on claims that the party had attires resembling those which were gazetted for the army and other security forces.
In September last year, UPDF gazetted all its military stores and the then army spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire cautioned the public to stop wearing such attires.
“The public is hereby informed that the marks, accessories, insignia, decorations and uniforms specified in the schedule to this notice are property of the State or classified stores and anyone found in unlawful possession, selling or dealing in them shall be prosecuted under the Uganda People’s Defence Forces Act, 2005.”
In the recent raid, most of the shirts and T-shirts that were taken were in red colour which according to Bireete was contradicting with the UPDF Act.
“Section 61 of the UPDF Act is very clear it gazettes marks and symbols, we don’t know where the UPDF got an idea that they can gazette colours, fashions? This is outside the UPDF act,” she said.
Bireete added that even in the last general elections UPDF was used to terrorize the new political wave that had been created by Amama Mbabazi.
“This has been their way. We also need to recall that in 2016, security officers raided the Go-Forward offices and 30 agents were arrested. So was the army looking for the berets then?” she asked.
“But also, there is increased involvement of the army in the politics which is fundamentally wrong. We saw the role UPDF played in the Arua fracas when they displayed guns allegedly found in Bobi Wine’s room. Where did these guns disappear? Can the army tell us? This excuse of military stores to abuse peoples’ rights to stop and intimidate them from participating in their governance at the time we are having an election by the UPDF is a consistent partner now and I think the CDF really is taking that institution in the wrong direction,” she said.
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