A total of 23 National Unity Platform supporters, a party headed by Kyadondo East legislator, Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine have been remanded after being arrested for donning red security attire.
A combined force of the Police and the army on Wednesday raided various parts of the city including NUP headquarters in Kamwokya and arrested dozens of people suspected to be wearing, selling and manufacturing red beret, red-t-shirts and posters that are deemed government stores.
On Friday, 23 of the supporters were arraigned before the City Hall magistrates court where they were charged with offences related to wearing uniforms declared to be used exclusively by persons performing duties in the armed forces contrary to section 170(1) (2) and (4) of the Penal Code Act.
“The accused, on the 14th day of October ,2020 at Kamwokya in the Kampala district when not being persons serving in any of the armed forces of Uganda including the police, Prisons or UPDF were found wearing or in possession of uniforms or dresses bearing parts , having the appearance or close resemblance of the aforementioned forces with distinctive marks of the security forces uniform like lineyards, peeps and berets as to lead to believe that it is a uniform and in such a manner of circumstances as to be likely to bring contempt of that uniform,” the charge sheet read in part.
The group was also charged with disobeying lawful orders when they gathered at national Unity Platform offices in Kamwokya in large numbers in disregard to the presidential directive banning gatherings which are likely to lead to the spread of Coronavirus.
The 23 Bobi Wine supporters, however, denied the charges and were remanded to Kitalya by the grade one magistrate, Valerian Tumuhimbise until October 23, 2020.
Government last year gazetted the red beret similar to one commonly donned by Kyadondo East Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform party supporters.
According to the September, 18, 2019 gazette, the red beret is part of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces’ marks, accessories, insignia, decoration and uniform as provided for under section 160 of the UPDF Act 2005.
“The public is hereby informed that the marks accessories, insignia, decoration and uniforms specified in the schedule to this notice are property of the state or classified stores and anyone found in unlawful possession, selling or dealing in them shall be prosecuted under the UPDF Act of 2005,” reads in part the government gazette.
“It is prohibited to wear or use any decoration supplied or authorised for use by any member of the defence forces or any decoration so nearly resembling that decoration and likely to deceive the public.”
Section 170(2) of the Penal Code Act says that any person who, without the authority of the persons upon whose application an order under this section has been made, uses or wears any uniform, badge, button or other distinctive mark described in the order, or any uniform, badge, button or another distinctive mark so closely resembling the same as to lead to the belief that it is a uniform, badge, button or another distinctive mark so described, commits a misdemeanour
The Penal Code Act, however, doesn’t specify the punishment for this offence but says “when any person is convicted of any offence under this section, the uniform, badge, button or another distinctive mark in respect of which the offence has been committed shall be forfeited unless the Minister shall otherwise order.”
Last year, lawyer, Ivan Bwowe challenged the gazetting and ban on wearing of red beret in courts of law but the case has never been disposed of.