As Museveni’s “operation police state” steps up a notch, few Ugandans will be safe
By Billy Wambogo
In the latest and clearest trend that Uganda has become a police state, officers in Kampala and all outlying areas have been ordered to monitor all civilian events, ceremonies and functions.
According to a report in the Daily Monitor of Thursday 10, this month the monitoring will be indiscriminate and will include all events whether they are political or civil.
The orders are contained in an internal message sent to all police commanders by the officer in charge of events at the Directorate of Crime Intelligence, Detective Superintendent of Police Moses Lukonge.
All the officers were given 10 days to have provided him a report on events expected in the next six months.
Ugandans have watched in alarm as the Museveni regime’s police and other security agencies have turned Uganda into a scary police state.
“People were long used to the police harassing and torturing Besigye, Bobi Wine and other political people, whereby even when Besigye goes to the toilet there is police inside!” said Budalla Salongo of Seeta in the outskirts of Kampala.
“But now the police will be spying on every one of us ordinary people and perhaps even sending teargas in our private events! Freedom is totally gone in Uganda, we are now under police occupation!” added Salongo.
In recent times Ugandans have witnessed stepped up acts of repression of innocent citizens by the police, branches of military intelligence, and the military itself. They have targeted the highly popular MP, Robert Kyaguranyi popularly known by his music stage name Bobi Wine, and his People Power supporters.
Several times they have blocked Wine’s music concerts, which the regime labeled political events. “The police’s acts of repression against Bobi Wine show that the president has become very paranoid and frightened of the power of the people, which Wine best embodies”, many people now observe.
But it is not only Wine that Museveni is frightened of, many observe.
It is the wider Ugandan society that he is frightened of as he realizes the depths of public discontent and anger with his 33-year regime that many characterize as the most corrupt in Ugandan history. So much so that it has now reached the extent whereby they are ready to send police to spy on weddings, parties, even clan meetings!
“This business (of spying on ordinary citizens) is not only irritating, it infringes on personal space and freedom, and it is an intimidation by the state,” a twitter account @philiponen responded to the Daily Monitor story.
Events in the past few years show that Museveni’s imposition of his police state on Uganda has escalated as citizens have increasingly vented their anger at the deteriorating situation in the country.
“People are shocked and angry at the levels of nepotism, tribalism, and how a small cabal of Museveni’s Bahima insiders have looted the state; how insecurity has grown, with a lot of it perpetuated by Museveni’s mafias determined to eliminate anyone they see as political threats (to their bread) or to their “succession plans,” said a senior Kampala scribe, asking not to be named.
“Museveni’s last card to maintain control is rule through intimidation, fear, and soon terror! That is what we are seeing now as police, as well as intelligence agencies like ISO or CMI step up surveillance on music concerts, and now wedding meetings, marriages, graduation parties, even clan meetings!”
Other people say that the security cameras that they are installing on all streets – allegedly for “crime deterrence purposes” – actually are for the purpose of keeping tabs on anyone that might be going to Kyaguranyi’s house, or Besigye’s. Or anyone wearing red tee shirts and berets, symbolizing support for People Power.
In short, this is the true definition of a police state!
With the security cameras fully in place, and with spies providing updates on movements of targets – whether from marriage parties, or children’s birthdays, or any other gathering – few Ugandans will be safe any longer.