Uganda Police Force has promised to limit the use of tear gas in quelling protests as a means of respecting rights of Ugandans.
The Police Chief of Joint Security Gen Jack Bakasumba made the revelation while appearing before the Parliament’s Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday. The committee was set up last month to probe rights violations during the general elections.
Bakasumba led a team of senior police officers including; Asan Kasingye the Political commissar of Police, Moses Kafeero the Kampala Metropolitan Commander and Edward Ochom the Director Operations among others.
During the meeting, MPs showed concern about several clashes between the police and some aspiring candidates during the campaigns.
Ochom told legislators that the police was forced to use tear gas and fire live bullets to disperse rallies because the candidates and their supporters were holding rallies contrary to the Covid-19 preventive directives. He added that some candidates publicly said they would defy Police directives during elections.
Ochom also cited instances in districts of Mbarara, Jinja where the Police openly clashed with former National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Presidential candidate Patrick Amuriat Oboi because they did not adhere to the guidelines and were defiant from the word go.
He noted that they had no other option than to use excessive force. He also said that some candidates’ supporters attacked police officers.
Kasingye told the committee that the police has since resolved not to rush using tear gas on protestors as they will first warn the protestors using megaphones and use of water cannon to disperse the crowd.
Kasingye also defended the involvement of the army and other security agencies in keeping law and order. He explained the police force has 45,000 police officers instead of the required 80,000.
Kawempe MP Latif Ssebagala welcomed the proposal to limit the use of tear gas.