Police have said the opposition led by the National Unity Platform(NUP) and the People’s Front for Transition are planning riots similar to one that happened last year following the arrest of Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine.
Following the arrest of Kyagulanyi who was a presidential candidate von November 18 in Luuka, protests broke out in urban centres in the country and efforts by security to quell the riots led to death of 54 people killed by bullets, some of whom have since been described as stray whereas many others sustained injuries.
Addressing journalists on Monday, Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga said intelligence information got by security indicates that Dr.Kizza Besigye’s People’s Front for Transition, Kyagulanyi’s National Unity Platform and other opposition political parties have started holding processions and rallies with a “potential of escalating them into an insurrection”.
“Our credible intelligence has indicated they want to capitalize on any injuries, arrests and fatalities that could arise out of the provocative behaviors between rioters and police so that they can help them to amplify their riots and also help them brand police as high handed, aggressive and brutal during these unlawful processions,”Enanga said.
Earlier this month, the People’s Front for Transition announced countrywide mobilization activities and consequently, they have held rallies in Rukungiri and Bushenyi unhindered.
However, over the weekend, National Unity Platform’s Robert Kyagulanyi had his supporters dispersed with teargas and stopped from appearing on radios stations in Mbale and Lira by police.
According to the police spokesperson, these are some of the activities aimed at provoking security into dispersing them and consequently will be a trigger for the said riots.
“We want to assure the public that this time we are better organized, with sufficient manpower and logistical requirements. The public order management act allows us to impose conditions on public meetings, assembling and processions and if there is a serious risk of public disorder, serious damage to property, disruption of life among others. We shall always come out and stop such unlawful processions,”Enanga said.
Asked whether it was not an act of double standards for police to allow Dr.Besigye’s People’s Front for Transition to hold successful meetings in Bushenyi and Rukungiri but disperse Kyagulanyi’s planned meetings in Mbale and Lira, the police spokesperson said the former had requested for permission and was granted one.
The development comes a few days to the first anniversary of the November 18 riots as members of the National Unity Platform continue to ask for accountability of the 54 people who were killed during the deadly protests.