Police has created a new ‘Violence Suppression Unit’ to which media will be tasked to submit the time they will host politicians on the airwaves during the 2021 election campaigns.
The unit’s purpose, according to police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, is to disperse crowds that form near media houses when they host certain politicians.
While addressing the press at the Uganda Media Centre on Monday, Enanga said, “we created units called violence suppression units and these will control demonstration and all acts of violence during the elections.”
The Electoral Commission (EC) in June announced a new election roadmap ahead of the 2021 general election where all campaigns will have to be held ‘scientifically’ on TVs, Radios and online.
Although the campaign period has not yet started officially, several politicians continue to be hosted by media houses to promote their ideas while being followed by hordes supporters, something which Enanga says must stop.
Enanga also said that media houses will have to submit names and time they will host politicians on airwaves so that police units don’t arrest them for flouting presidential guidelines on curfew.
“Owners of media houses should tell us when they are going to host someone such that if the person resides in Kira, our unit that side is aware,” Enanga said.
In a phone interview with the Nile Post, lawyer Andrew Ssekibaamu from Enset Law however said that “there is no legal requirement for media houses to submit such to police.”
Ssekibaamu said: “Police is acting illegally as all individuals have freedom of expression ensured under Article 29 of the Constitution of Uganda 1995 as amended. Therefore that right cannot be sought first from Police for it to be exercised. Even if the talk show is to happen beyond curfew hours, media is permitted to drive such persons to their respective homes in such times. It is therefore unlawful.”