The Uganda Police Force has suspended, with immediate effect, the political activities of the National Unity Platform (NUP) due to breaches of guidelines that have resulted in public disorder, unnecessary traffic jams, loss of business, and malicious damage to property.
In a statement dated September 13, 2023, the Director-General of the Inspectorate of Police (DGIP), Maj Gen Katsigazi Tumusiime, noted that during a visit to Mbarara City, rowdy supporters of NUP vandalized a Toyota Hiace with registration number UBD 251J. Additionally, there were traffic accidents, including a fatal one in Hoima City on September 11, 2023, where Mugisa Norman lost his life, and 10 others sustained serious injuries during the NUP convoy.
The DGIP clarified that the Police, under its mandate to regulate public meetings as per section 32(1) of the Police Act, had granted permission to the National Unity Platform to conduct nationwide mobilization activities and officially open party offices. However, supplementary guidelines were provided, including the requirement of permission from venue owners, gatherings within appropriately enclosed town halls, the prohibition of processions, demonstrations, unregulated rallies, acts of incitement to violence, or other public order management violations.
Gen Katsigazi emphasized that while the Police support the right of individuals, groups, and citizens to peacefully assemble and express their views on public policy matters, they have observed widespread breaches of these guidelines in all areas where NUP mobilization activities have occurred. He cited Kasana-Luweero District as an example where mobilization activities were used to incite violence, promote sectarianism, call for the removal of an elected government, and make defamatory statements against the President of Uganda.
“In light of these blatant breaches of the guidelines, the activities of the NUP are immediately suspended. This announcement follows our communication to the NUP leadership on September 12, 2023, suspending their planned mobilization activities and office openings until they are ready to comply with the guidelines and the rule of law,” said the DGIP. He added, “We are sending a strong message that Uganda will not tolerate the burning of its villages, towns, urban centers, and cities before taking action to protect its citizens and property.”
Furthermore, he stated, “We intend to put an end to the mob mentality, bullying, and intimidating tactics of NUP radicals against innocent civilians and law enforcement officers. We have comprehensive plans to uphold the rule of law in collaboration with other stakeholders and will respond appropriately to all those who incite violence, potentially leading to civil unrest across the country.”
The DGIP stressed that Uganda is one of the safest countries in the region and globally, and they are committed to maintaining this status. “This directive remains in effect until the NUP demonstrates compliance and adherence to the law.”