According to the clerics, the Uganda Police Force needs to appreciate the fact that the manner in, which they endeavour to fulfil their constitutional role will have a direct impact on the electoral process, arguing that it is critical for police to remain impartial in the execution of their mandate.
The public has also witnessed blockage of candidates from accessing campaign venues, booked radio programmes and other places by policemen and soldiers.
Religious leaders meeting officials from the Uganda Police Force. Photo by IRCU.
Council of Uganda-IRCU has cautioned police against the brutal force used
against opposition presidential candidates as well as citizens in the ongoing
political campaigns. This came up in a
meeting between top clerics including the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda,
the Most Rev. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, Dr. Joseph Serwadda, the
Presiding Apostle of Born Again Faith Federation and Msgr. Charles Kasibante
and a team of senior police officers on the ongoing campaigns held Wednesday.
According to the clerics, the Uganda Police Force needs to appreciate the fact that
the manner in, which they endeavour to fulfill their constitutional role will
have a direct impact on the electoral process, arguing that it is critical for
police to remain impartial in the execution of their mandate. The clerics
also noted that the actions of police officers are making it impossible for the
Electoral Commission to deliver free and fair elections to the country and
suggested that the police explore more humane ways to quell riots, enforce
arrests and investigations.
the ongoing electoral environment has particularly tested the professional ethics
and conduct of the police force as well as the personal values of those
involved in the operations," said Archbishop Kaziimba. Msgr. Charles
Kasibante, the Vicar General of Kampala Archdiocese, said that what is
happening is very distressing and unbearable to watch. “I am wondering whether police can’t come up
with another method of policing to avoid this violence?” he asked.
Kaziimba said the have given some consideration on how best they could overcome
the dilemma of denying duly nominated presidential candidates with an
agreed roadmap a chance to share their manifestos with voters to make informed
choices. “On the other hand, is the natural excitement, passion of the
electorate when candidates visit their areas, COVID-19 withstanding," he
their proposal is that the number of at a given rally should be determined by
the capacity of the selected venue.
"In this case, they will be
required to hand wash, wear masks and observe social distance. Obviously, this
will require close collaboration between security agencies and organizers
of the public rallies/meetings. We trust that this will minimize clashes
between campaign organizers and security agencies and unnecessary loss of
lives. We think that this is a more realistic way of managing the inevitable
excitement and desire of the supporters to interact with the political
candidates," he argued.
He said the other option would be to conduct scientific
campaigns as originally envisaged without any rallies, which would mean that
the Electoral Commission and Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) provide
airtime to candidates. According to
Kaziimba, this would mean allocating the airtime equally to all political
candidates for the remainder of the campaign period.
“This can be an
option to open campaign rallies and meetings that have proved to be too costly
and difficult to manage under the COVID-19 guidelines,” he said. In his
response, the Chief Political Commissar of Uganda Police Assistant Inspector
General of Police- AIGP Asan Kasingye, said the Force has not held any meeting
where a decision has been taken to intentionally block the National Unity
Platform-NUP presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu from
The Director of Operations
Uganda Police Force, Edward Ochom also claimed that some presidential
candidates have failed to comply with the campaign program that they submitted
to the electoral body, which can’t be tolerated. They, however, assured the religious leaders that their message has been received and
will be presented to Police authorities. Police have come under sharp criticism
for frustrating the campaigns of opposition candidates to purportedly enforce
the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs.
Police have repeatedly blocked
opposition candidates especially Robert Kyagulanyi, Patrick Amuriat Oboi and
Henry Tumukunde from accessing their campaign venues. On Wednesday, Kyagulanyi halted his campaigns
to interface with the Electoral Commission leadership following skirmishes in Kayunga
district where his police guard was injured by an explosive fired from a police