Kale Kaihura

POLICING THE LUWERO BY-ELECTIONS: LESSONS LEARNT AND WAY FORWARD

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The Luwero woman Member of Parliament seat and several others that fell vacant will tomorrow be occupied by the rightful person voted in by the eligible members of the public in Luwero. Among the local government council seats vacant include;
I. LC III chairperson Kikyusa subcounty
II. District directly elected councillor Luwero sub county
III. Directly elected councillor Bamugolodde parish, Butuntumula sub county and
IV. Directly elected councillor for Kigombe parish, Luwero sub county

This by-election has seen quite a number of changes from recommendation to have some parties de-registered to suspension of some senior police personnel in the wake of riots during the campaigns by party candidates.

Quite a number of policing issues have arisen during this period and some have been very challenging some of which include:
Spreading of malicious propaganda aimed at demoralizing some individuals and institutions. Police too has not been spared this malice as some candidates and those helping them to canvass for votes badmouthed our efforts to ensure a peaceful by-election. Some alleged that a child was knocked by a police patrol vehicle while instead the child was knocked by another vehicle

Inciting of the public has been very common especially by some candidates and their agents who at every forum tried to convince the population that the by-election would be rigged. This was done by convincing the voters not to vote but involve themselves in chaos to disrupt the process of the by-election. These attempts have been diffused but not without damage to the targeted institutions which have the mandate of ensuring a free and fair by-election.

Non-compliance with the public order guidelines given to all candidates and their agents were not followed and to some extent, the guidelines were deliberately ignored resulting into some public order concerns. For example, the regulation on time was clearly a point of concern as the candidates canvassed for votes in the different areas without being mindful of the time allocated for their activities. Time management is very key in ensuring efficiency and effectiveness bearing in mind that activities of one person may bear influence on those of other people.

At a rally organized for candidate Brenda Nabukenya the campaigners, failed to abide by the time structure when by 06:30pm their campaigns had not been concluded. A reminder by the district police commander the campaigners had run out of time was ignored and even attempts to advance closer to the police officers were made which could have resulted in harm both to the police and those present. In spite of several warnings from the police commanders there was resistance towards any effort made to end the rally. It only took the intervention of director operations AIGP Grace Turyagumanawe who is overseeing the by-election to disperse those resisting to abide by the given warnings. This was at 0720pm, one hour and 20 minutes beyond the designated time for closure of the campaigns. Nobody was injured, and no arrests were made at this point as some propagandists had alleged.
During the procession from wobulenzi to Luwero, there was a lot of commotion because it was carried out on the high way. Tires and other flammables were burnt on the road. Up to about 1030pm, the Gulu Kampala high way was blocked at Wobulenzi as the police made efforts to clear it and ensure normal traffic flow. A boda boda cyclist in this frenzy rammed into a track registration number UCE 606 blue Isuzu track and died instantly. The deceased identified as Sulaiman Kigundu of Wobulenzi was riding on a numberless red bajaj boxer. The driver of the track escaped from the scene unidentified. Both the motor cycle (numberless red bajaj) and the track registration UCE 606 blue Isuzu were towed to Luwero central police station by the traffic personnel on duty. The body was taken to hospital for postmortem. Some of the vehicles used in the procession were abandoned at the road and have been taken to central police station Luwero for safety

. The owners should therefore identify them as soon as possible:
 UAD 986U white track
 Numberless vehicle
 A motor cycle and 2 bicycles ( were handed over to Hon. Betty Nambooze)
Way forward
A deployment plan for the actual by-elections tomorrow has been made with emphasis on monitoring security for the polling centres. The polling constable at every polling centre is charged with ensuring law and order at the centre.
Emphasis has also been put on ensuring security for electoral officials, materials and installations.
Those spreading malicious propaganda and inciting violence act contrary to the penal code Act Cap 120 section 83 and could be subjected to investigation by the CIID personnel to establish their intentions.

The police is also putting emphasis on security of voters and non-voters, electoral officials and materials in the face of the terror threat currently being experienced in the region. Therefore, voters and candidates are encouraged to be conscious and ensure that timely information about anyone or anything suspicious is reported to the police as immediately as possible.
Voting which starts at 7:00am will be followed by vote tallying and announcement as co-ordinated by the electoral officials with that jurisdiction. Security will be on high alert to counter anyone trying to cause chaos during the by-election. All those brought in to disrupt the voting process as indicated by reliable information shall be arrested and prosecuted.
We wish all the candidates the best of luck.

Polly Namaye
Ag. ACP Press and Public Relations
Deputy PRO
21/05/2014

 

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