The Democratic Party (DP) has said Ugandans have the right to express their outrage through demonstration on a number of issues ranging from lack of access to education, sexual violence, corruption, police violence among others.
The remarks came shortly after the former NUP Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine called upon Ugandans to take to the streets to protest against the alleged rigging of the 2021 elections by the NRM.
In a statement, Okoler Opio Lo Amanu, the DP spokesperson, said the right to protest is enshrined in the constitution therefore Ugandans are relatively well informed about their rights and the steps they should take when organising a protest.
“But there is need for sensitisation of law enforcement officers on their obligations as per the law in facilitating people’s right to protest. In Uganda, law enforcement officers are more vigilant in blocking the exercise of the right to assemble and protest, yet they’re supposed to facilitate the right to protest,”he said
According to Opio,in Uganda there has not been any demonstration that has taken place without police interference.
“Peaceful protesters are frequently dispersed with tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons and live bullets. Worse still is that the police focus not on de-escalation and isolation of violence but rather the use of force against unarmed and peaceful protesters,” he added.
Opio said that many Ugandans shun protests not because they don’t identify with the cause behind the protest but out of fear of violence from law enforcement.
He said that the party remains committed to engage in whatever peaceful means are desirable and necessary to resolve conflicts, assert rights and redress wrongs.
“Those of us who are aggrieved by the gross violation of our right to free and fair elections should come together. It is imperative that Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert and the NUP reach out to other democracy seeking forces,”he noted.