Bobi Wine decries persecution of NUP supporters amidst concerns over MP's military attire

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Bobi Wine decries persecution of NUP supporters amidst concerns over MP's military attire
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KAMPALA - Opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi has reiterated his concerns over what he calls "targeted arrests, abductions, torture, prosecution, and even deaths suffered by hundreds of his National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters" simply for wearing red berets.

Kyagulanyi's concern escalated following the circulation of a photo showing Kitgum Woman MP Lillian Aber wearing the official UPDF military attire.

Aber sparked outrage after she posted at least four images of herself in the military attire on social media, with many citizens questioning the source of her outfit.

Illegal possession and or use of military attires contravenes Sections 160, 161 and 164 of the UPDF Act, 2005. Unauthorised use of the same is an offence liable to prosecution by the military court.

Many Ugandans, especially Opposition supporters, condemned this act, questioning why the government fails to take action against leaders who wear army attire while persecuting other Ugandans for doing the same.

In a statement, Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, condemned the ongoing persecution faced by the NUP and its supporters highlighting the selective application of the law.

"It is not because they violated the law that hundreds of NUP/PeoplePower supporters have suffered abductions, arrests, torture, prosecution, and even death for wearing the People Power red berets," stated Kyagulanyi, emphasizing that the persecution is solely due to their opposition to President Museveni and his government.

Kyagulanyi further criticised the apparent double standard in how supporters of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) are treated compared to opposition members.

 He pointed out the case of Aber, whom he claims can freely wear the full UPDF uniform without facing repercussions, similar to other regime supporters.

"Just like many other regime apologists have gotten away with similar conduct!" Kyagulanyi exclaimed, highlighting what he perceives as a lack of accountability for those aligned with the ruling regime.

Ms. Aber (centre) in a group photo during the cleaning exercise in her constituency

Despite the ongoing persecution, Kyagulanyi expressed confidence in history, referring to it as a "fair judge."

The Defence and Military spokesperson, Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye, said Aber has apologized and immediately removed the uniform, and the army has forgiven her.

 He also mentioned that the officer who provided her with the uniform has been arrested. Kulayigye warned civilians against donning military fatigues without official permission.

This incident is related to previous arrests by the army of several members of NUP, who were detained for wearing berets similar to those used by the army.

He dismissed accusations of selectively applying the law and insisted that anyone seen wearing the uniform would face arrest and subsequent prosecution.

In January 2022, journalist Andrew Mwenda faced criticism from social media commentators for wearing a UPDF uniform despite not being a soldier.

Videos circulating on social media showed Mwenda wearing a UPDF uniform as he sat in one of the country's helicopters. He was also seen greeting a number of UPDF soldiers, including the chopper's pilots, while wearing the uniform.

 The videos sparked debate on social media, with many blaming the army for double standards.

Section 164 of the UPDF Act 2005 stipulates that any person found in unlawful possession of equipment ordinarily being the monopoly of the Defence Forces and other classified stores, as prescribed, and who is not otherwise subject to military law, is subject to military law and can be tried in military courts as appropriate.

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