Friday, February 22, 2019
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Uganda’s Former Police Boss Criticises Opposition Crackdown

Police brutality in Uganda

The former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Julius Idwe has expressed anger at the selective police brutality targeting opposition members and those opposed to the proposed scraping of the presidential age limit.

Recently, members of parliament aligned to the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM party resolved to table a motion in parliament scrapping article 102 (b) of the 1995 constitution of Uganda, which restricts the presidents age to between 35 and 75 years.

The move is aimed at paving way for president, Yoweri Museveni, who will be over 75 years to contest in the 2021 polls. The proposal has generated countywide condemnation forcing several MPs belonging to the ruling party, opposition politicians, civil society activists and ordinary citizens to rise up in protest.

The protests have met stiff resistance leading to the arrest of several key opposition figures including Norbert Mao, the President General of the Democratic Party and Kampala City Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago among others.

Defending Constitution

Now, the former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Julius Idwe, says conduct of police, some NRM MPs and the executive is treasonable, since it is meant to frustrate the efforts of Ugandans to defend the constitution.

He reminds police of article 1, 2 and 3 of the 1995 constitution which clearly spell out that all power belongs to the citizens.

Odwe asks Uganda Police Force and the executive to be mindful of Article 3 of the constitution, which says all citizens shall have the right and duty at all times to defend the constitution and in particular to resist any person or group of persons seeking to overthrow the established constitutional order and to do all in their power to restore this constitution after it has been suspended, overthrown abrogated or amended contrary to its provisions.

He also says clause (4) of article 3 states that any person, or group of persons who as required, resists the suspension, overthrow, abrogation or amendment of this constitutions commits no offence. He argues that based on the constitutional provision, people are supreme and are mandate to defend the constitution and that any attempt to find the defence criminal is void.

Odwee asks President Yoweri Museveni to save Ugandans from the most embarrassing failure to peacefully hand over power when his term expires in 2021 arguing that the only hope Ugandans now have for a peaceful hand over of presidency lies in his hands.

Scrapping Presidential Age Limit

He contends that Uganda is faced with serious problems, which require urgent attention other than scrapping the presidential age limit and the compulsory land acquisition, which government has decided to focus on.

He cites the increasing anxiety of Ugandans on the transition of power and Museveni’s succession, fear of the weak stewardship in the public sector, famine, poverty and injustices that require immediate government redress.

Odwe dismisses claims by those pushing for the removal of the presidential age limit that it is meant to ensure that youths have a chance to contest for the country’s top most position, saying the possibility of a youth becoming a president in Uganda is not tenable.

According to Odwe, only ten youths have succeeded in becoming heads of state in Africa since 1960 through military coups, revolutions and amicable consent by some groups and not elections. He cites the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the former Libyan president who ascended to power at 27 years through a revolution in 1969 and the former Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh who became president at 29 through a military coup in 1994.

Others include Joseph Kabila, the incumbent president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Valentine Strasser of Sierra Leone and Michael Micombero who became Burundian President at 26 after declaring an end to the Monarchy and the Kingdom of Burundi in 1966.

Odwe says the MPs and ministers pushing the removal of the presidential age limit hold the key to modelling youths through education, exposure and experience and asks them not just to sympathize with the youths but give them hope through working for the betterment of their lives and the hope of taking over leadership.

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