29 May 2019

Uganda: Police Finally Clear Jinja DP Rally, Bobi Wine Expected to Attend

Jinja — Police has finally cleared Democratic Party (DP) to hold its DP-UYD reunion meeting slated for today at Kakindu Stadium in Jinja District in eastern Uganda.

Attempts to have the meeting at Jinja Rugby Grounds on February 20 were squashed by police on grounds that the organizers failed to comply with the provisions of the Public Order Management Act (POMA).

During that botched meeting, the DP President General, Mr Norbert Mao was, upon arrival in Jinja, placed into a salon car and whisked to Jinja Central Police Station where he spent about five hours before being forced out of Town.

However, in his letter dated May 17, the Commissioner in-charge of Police Operations, Mr John Nuwagira okayed the rally on condition that it is limited to consultations.

". . . Your intended activity can go on as planned the; however, it should be limited to consultations because political rallies have their own set timelines. There should be no procession as well," the letter reads in a part.

The DP-UYD national reunion coordinator and organizing committee Chairperson, Mr Walter Lubega, on Monday said they reached on a consensus with police chiefs and the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, on how to organize the rally without any disruption.

"Party activities have been severally disrupted because of misinterpretation of the POMA, especially on the side of those who are supposed to help regulate and enforce regulation. We have received a letter clearing us and the rally will go on without teargas," he said.

Mr Lubega added that the consultation will be attended by several Members of Parliament including Kyadondo East MP, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine.

After an Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) meeting on May 15, Dr Rugunda directed police to stop imposing their own guidelines while implementing the POMA and allow opposition parties to hold their rallies peacefully.

Speaking to Daily Monitor on Tuesday, the Kiira Region Police Spokesperson, Ms Diana Nandaula, said they are prepared to give DP all the necessary protection to ensure that they hold a successful consultative meeting.

Opposition rallies and meetings, especially those organized by Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), DP and People Power pressure group have been blocked by police over their alleged flouting of the POMA.

Mr John Egesa, a DP supporter, said he doubts police will heed to Dr Rugunda's directive and allow DP to hold its rally without any disruption.

Successful meetings have been held at Makerere University, Mukono, Gulu and Masaka.

Section 5 of POMA provides that the organizer of a public gathering or meeting shall notify the Inspector General of Police (IGP) at least three days and not more than 15 days before the proposed date of the public gathering.

During the IPOD dialogue, several resolutions were reached on, including the need to solve issues that arise within the political space (through dialogue) instead of violence.

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