Uganda Police Force has adopted a tougher approach to preserve the integrity of the electoral process as several politicians continue defying the guidelines issued by electoral commission.
IGP Martin Okoth Ochola says they have dispatched specialist teams and quick reaction teams, to identify ring leaders (and principals) for apprehension in the face of crime. “We have disseminated our comprehensive policing plan to all territorial commanders for them to implement without fear or favor” the IGP noted.
In addition, IGP Ochola says the Electoral and Political Offences Department at CID headquarters, has obtained videos of the respective campaign trails, and started gathering evidence to press formal charges, on candidates, campaign agents and influencers who are caught on the wrong side of the law.
Earlier this morning, police arrested the NUP presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu in Luuka district where he was holding a rally that had attracted hundreds of people.
“Despite repeated warnings issued to candidates, their agents and wider public about the negative impact and health risks of holding unauthorized rallies and processions, we continue to witness acts of defiance and total disregard of the EC guidelines. Therefore, those who shall defy these Electoral Commission guidelines with their sinister plans aimed at disrupting the Electoral process will definitely suffer consequences” Ochola warned.
He added that during these first 9 days they have repeatedly cautioned all individual actors and political groups, against acts of civil disobedience like holding unauthorized and defiant campaigns, burning of tyres, use of illegal road blocks, deflating tyres of police vehicles, intimidation, looting shops, dangerous driving on major roads and provocative behavior towards law enforcement personnel.
He urged all members of the public to be very vigilant and cautious during the political campaigns.
According to security, health and EC guidelines, every candidate is allowed to meet 200 people at a time. However this remains a struggle and apart from President Yoweri Museveni, most of the remaining candidates have been holding rallies.