President Yoweri Museveni has given one month ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola to come up with a booklet of instructions for using guns by the police and Local Defence Unity (LDU) and private security organisations while guarding homes and properties.
Museveni’s order follows the conclusion of National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party primaries where the police officers and the LDU soldiers shot at people in Katakwi and Bugiri, two in Isingiro among other places.
According to the President, this was uncalled for because the shooters had other options of firing in the air, arresting them. It is believed that a group of people pelted stones at armed police officers and they retaliated by firing at them and hence leaving one person dead.
“The shooting if at all would have been to disperse, which would mean to shoot in the air. You should analyse incident by incident. You should know that the Public Order Management Act (POMA) is well structured and shooting should be by command not by an individual and the standards of riot control should be adhered to” he said.
He cautioned police officers and the LDUs to use diplomacy by telling people to disperse, use hand held microphone to warn them, inform them of your intentions to use force, use of non-lethal means like tear gas, using shield, fire live bullets. The firing should only be aimed at disabling rioters if they are charging forward unstoppably and endangering the lives of security personnel.
“No one should carry a gun anywhere in Uganda and on behalf of the state and engage in dealing with the public that is not aware of these procedures. All police posts and individual police officers and LDUs attached to policing should have a copy of all the procedures,” he said
He said in case Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) is going to support police, they should be briefed about the procedures and no one should ever be deployed in the public without being sensitized about these procedures.
The Commander in Chief noted that no private security guard is allowed to engage with the public and are only hired to guard homes and property against thieves and the rules of engagement are clear; that do not allow break-in and they should not be hired as body guards however the IGP should discuss with his colleagues to come up with a harmonized position.
Reports indicate that after the messy NRM party primaries, the blame was put on police and LDUs as they partly took sides. It is alleged that some of the officers were hired by several politicians.