Uganda: Future of Ipod Summit At Stake Over Police Brutality, Says Mao

Kampala — Democratic Party (DP) president Norbert Mao has warned that if the State does not stop its brutality against Opposition members, the future of the Interparty Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) summit is at stake.

Addressing journalists at the party's weekly press conference in Kampala yesterday, Mr Mao, who is the current IPOD chairperson, said the continuous State brutality against Opposition politicians has upset the stakeholders.

"I have decided to meet them one by one informally and share with them the concerns about the actions of the State that undermine the spirit of the dialogue. You cannot have a fair competition if the security forces are partisan," he said.

Mr Mao added that they had scheduled a conference to review the Public Order Management Act on April 25 but the conduct of security forces is making that engagement very difficult.

"It looks like we are engaging with people who are not committed to the rule of law. Given the environment in which we are operating, engagement is also proving problematic because members of the IPOD summit are already expressing their concerns over police brutality," he said.

Mr Mao said DP will hold a public protest against police brutality but did not mention the date of the planned protest.

"We want all Ugandans to know that the role of police is to ensure law and order not to take sides in a political contest and the reason for the protest is because police brutality has turned the current political environment to be extremely hostile to democracy," he added.

Government speaks out

Speaking to Daily Monitor in a telephone interview yesterday, government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo urged Mr Mao to privately consult security agencies accused of brutality.

"The consultation should involve government agencies, especially police, to find out if the things are happening the way he (Mao) sees them, why they are happening and their issues with the victims instead of addressing matters via the media," he said.


DP reunion: In February, police and the army blocked a DP reunion political rally that was slated to take place at Jinja Rugby grounds.

FDC talk shows: Early this month, security personnel switched off Hope Radio in Kabale after it hosted Dr Kizza Besigye and other FDC leaders.

Bobi Wine's concerts: On Monday, police blocked Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine from holding a concert at One Love Beach in Busabala, Wakiso District.

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