Today, the 8th March 2011, in a press conference held at Speke Hotel, in Kampala, Mr Sam Lubega, Dr Olara Otunu in the company of Hon Ken Lukyamuzi, Basalirwa Assuman and Kibirige Mayanja, called on the public to converge at Railway Grounds tomorrow, Wednesday, 9th March 2011, for “peaceful demonstration” in protest against the just concluded elections.
The Uganda Police Force strongly cautions members of the public against involving themselves in this unlawful activity. The organizers of this so called demonstration have not notified the Police of their plans, as is required by law and practice.
It is not surprising that the organizers deliberately chose not to notify and arrange with the Police since we have reliable information that sections of the opposition leadership intend to use the pretext of “peaceful demonstrations”, to cause widespread and sustained violence and destruction, and in the process, destabilize the peace and security in the country.
In addition, we have information that Kasibante Moses is also intending to cause violence, tomorrow, in the event that the High Court doesn’t rule in his favour.
We have always reiterated the Constitutional position regards demonstrations. Indeed, while the Constitution grants the right to demonstrate peacefully and unarmed, this right is not absolute, Not only must the demonstrations be peaceful, they must not infringe the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest. Public interest includes national security. Furthermore, all demonstrations are subject to regulation by the Uganda Police. In other words, one cant hold a demonstration without notifying, and being guided by the Uganda Police, in such matters as date, time, venue, route, number of people involved, and other circumstances. This is, among others, to protect both the demonstrators as well as the rest of the public.
It is for this reason that Article 212 of the Constitution gives the mandate of ensuring law and order to the Uganda Police, and Section 32(1) of the Police Act empowers the Police to regulate the conduct of public meetings and processions.
Indeed, in executing its regulatory function in regard to public meetings and processions, the Police require organizers of public meetings and processions to notify the Police, in advance of any intended public meeting or procession.
For the avoidance of doubt, and consistent with the abovementioned legal position, the purpose of the notice is to enable the Police plan for the security of the function, ensure that the rights of other persons not involved are protected, and protect national security.
In the present case, the organizers of the intended demonstrations, have neither notified the Police, or provided the requisite details as required by procedure, to enable the Police provide security, and ensure that the demonstration is peaceful.
Accordingly, any planned demonstration or procession, in this instance, is therefore, unlawful, and shall not be allowed to take place.
I, consequently, caution any person organizing, or intending to hold or participate in such unlawful demonstration, which has potential to degenerate into a riotous situation, that such action constitutes a criminal offence, and the Police shall take firm and resolute action against such persons.
The Police assures the public that we have taken measures to ensure your security as you go about your business.
We appeal to members of the public to continue to cooperate with us, as you have always done.
Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura
Inspector-General of Police
Uganda Police Force
08th March, 20100