21 September 2017

Uganda: Police Deploy Heavily Ahead of Planned Demonstrations Over Age Limit

Photo: Alex Esagala/Daily Monitor
Security officers deployed at the main gate of Parliament.

Security has been tightened in Uganda's capital Kampala ahead of planned demonstrations against lifting of the presidential age limit.

This comes just hours after the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura warned Ugandans against holding processions in favour or against the proposed removal of the presidential age limit.

In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, Gen Kayihura says police has received notifications by different groups of people intending to hold processions in the city, municipalities, and other parts of the country relating to the anticipated debate in parliament on the proposed scrapping of the president age limit from the constitution.

He says they have also received information indicating that some people are planning to use the demonstrations to cause violence and mayhem in the city including targeting parliament.

"Police recognizes and has always facilitated the exercise, of the right to demonstrate peacefully and unarmed as provided in the constitution. However at the same time police has the obligation under the constitution to keep law and order, prevent crime, as well as protecting life and property" IGP Kayihura's statement reads.

He advises the masterminds of the processions to use other means such as television networks, radio station, print media and indoor meetings to express their positions on the matter. Gen Kayihura also warned the planners of the processions to be careful not to be used as a cover for violent criminal attacks and other criminal activities.

Recently, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) caucus endorsed a proposal to repeal article 102 (b) of the constitution, which restricts the presidential age limit to between 35 and 75 years of age. The move is allegedly aimed at paving way for President Museveni who will be above 75 years by the 2021 polls to offer himself for election.

The proposal drew angry reactions from a cross section of legislators including those from the ruling NRM and political activities. They vowed to stage massive protests across the country until the proposal is dropped. Early this week, police picked up 14 youth activists for staging protests in the city center against the proposal.

Police have since summoned four MPs including Allan Ssewanyana, Barnabas Tinkasamire, Muhammad Nsereko and Theodore Ssekikuboto record statements for allegedly inciting violence in relation to the proposed amendment.

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