Officers of the Uganda Police Force have performed anti-riot drills in anticipation of Kenya-like protests in urban areas due to the rising cost of living.
Police’s directorates held joint drills at a training facility in Kigo, Wakiso District on Monday where they displayed their capabilities to deal with terror attacks and protests at the same time.
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police Maj Gen Geoffrey Katsigazi personally witnessed the drills.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga told Daily Monitor on Monday that several groups, including those from the opposition, are holding secret meetings with the intention of rallying their members to carry out street protests.
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“Our joint security teams have got intelligence that groups are holding meetings to protest against the rising prices of commodities like it is the case in Kenya,” Mr Enanga said.
High cost of living
In several African countries, including Kenya, people are rising up to protest the high cost of living and democracy.
Similar uprisings due to food prices in 2011 led to the toppling of African leaders in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. In Uganda, the protests — code-named Walk-to-Work — led by Mr Mathias Mpuuga, now the leader of the opposition in Parliament, and Dr Kizza Besigye, lasted for five years and left more than a dozen people killed and hundreds injured.
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Mr Enanga said they will deal firmly with any uprising.
“There are many sections of the Public Order Management Act that are still in place, including notifying the inspector-general of police about the planned demonstrations. Organisers of demonstrations should follow the law,” he said.
At the Kigo drill, the joint police team re-enacted an incident that happened during the recent general elections where police arrested National Unity Platform leader Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine in Luuka District leading to protests in which security personnel killed 54 people and arrested hundreds of others.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the drill was intended to show how to handle incidents that evolve fast from the use of teargas to live bullets.
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Since the November 2020 protests, the Ugandan government has invested billions of shillings in the procurement of equipment to deal with civil disobedience.
Police bought 65 trucks, including 15 riot control vehicles this month. Some of the trucks use laser beams to target protestors. The laser causes serious headaches.