Last week was hectic, at least for the leading opposition politicians and the Uganda Police Force.
There was massive deployment of police to block aspiring presidential candidates Colonel (rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye and former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi from inaugurating their bids in Kasangati and Mbale, respectively.
For the better part of the day, both men were held at different police stations, one at Naggalama and the other at Kira Road.
Then parliament weighed in on the matter, opining and correctly so, that Dr Besigye’s arrest and detention on that day was not in good faith, as his party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) had endorsed him to canvass support for his presidential bid. However, it still remains a contentious point as to whether their interpretation of the law in regard to Amama Mbabazi’s arrest, is indeed consistent with the Constitution.
It is pertinent to remind politicians, mostly our Members of Parliament who are charged with making the laws that they should desist from making ‘bad laws’ aimed at ‘clipping the wings’ of particular people they may not necessarily like politically. In Uganda such a thing has happened before, and interestingly we know better because it was the proponent of that law who was one of its first victims. Does anybody care to remember the name Grace Ibingira?
That notwithstanding however, it came as a relief when parliament weighed in with a rational guidance and better still when the police seemed to take heed and clear Dr Besigye to begin his ‘meet-the-people’ rallies.
The police is not supposed to take sides, or even appear to do so as this would undermine its public image and also compromise its vital role of keeping law and order.
And, as the country gears up for the 2016 presidential elections, it will be important that the police plays its role professionally, so that the citizens of Uganda benefit from the process of a peaceful, free and fair election.
That is why the ‘fresh settlement of scores’ between the police and Dr Besigye is a good starting point that should be applauded because as a country we need to strengthen dialogue on key national issues.