President Museveni has directed the Inspector General of Police, John Martins Okoth Ochola to issue a manual to all police officers and Local Defence Unit personnel on how to use guns.
In a directive to Ochola , Museveni says the manual should be printed by not later than October,15, 2020 and this will guide the security personnel on the proper use of firearms and how to disperse gatherings in accordance with the Public Order Management Act.
He cites two incidents of shootings in Bugiri and Katakwi during the NRM primaries in which several people were injured noting that these indicated that both police and LDU personnel are not well conversant with the use of guns.
“In Katakwi, civilians were fighting among themselves during the elections. Why shoot them? Why not scare them by shooting in the air or simply arresting them,”Museveni said.
“It was said that in Bugiri, some members of the public stoned the armed personnel. That was bad. However, shooting to kill should not have been the first option. They should have identified the stone thrower and arrested him for prosecution.”
Museveni explained that any form of shooting ought to have been meant to disperse the crowd by shooting in the air.
Public order management
Museveni in the directed took the Inspector General of Police through the procedure of quelling riots in accordance with the Public Order Management Act.
He explained that any form of shooting must be on command and not by individual security personnel letting off guns whereas standing orders for riot control, he said should begin with diplomacy which includes telling rioters to disperse.
“There should be a proclamation by using handheld micro-phones to warn them to disperse. Inform them of your intention to use forceful means. Use non- lethal means like tear gas. Using shields, fire live bullets in the air,” Museveni said.
“Only firing to disable if the rioters are charging forward unstoppably and endangering the lives of the security personnel.”
The President however warned that nobody should be allowed to carry a gun anywhere in the country on behalf of the state and engage in dealing with the public.
“Each police post must have a copy of these procedures and all the police personnel and LDUs attached to policing areas individually must be conversant to the last letter of these procedures.”
Museveni’s directive comes on the backdrop of the violence that marred the concluded ruling NRM party primaries in various parts of the country.
A number of people were either injured or killed during the violence that has since been condemned by the party leaders.