Ugandan Police Conduct Anti-Riot Drills Amid Protests Over Rising Cost of Living
In Uganda, the police force has conducted anti-riot drills in anticipation of possible protests in urban areas due to the skyrocketing cost of living. Reports suggest that various groups, including opposition members, are holding secret meetings to organize street protests against the high prices of commodities.
The joint drills, which showcased the police force’s capabilities to deal with terror attacks and protests simultaneously, were held at a training facility in Kigo, Wakiso District. Police spokesperson Fred Enanga stated that they would deal firmly with any uprising, and several sections of the Public Order Management Act remain in place.
The Ugandan government has reportedly invested billions of shillings in procuring equipment to deal with civil disobedience since the November 2020 protests. However, critics argue that such drills are unnecessary and a waste of resources, as they do not address the root causes of protests, such as poor governance and economic mismanagement.
Moreover, human rights activists have expressed concern over the use of excessive force by security personnel during protests. Reports indicate arbitrary arrests, torture, and extrajudicial killings. The Public Order Management Act has also been criticized for being restrictive and draconian, stifling dissent.
Uganda is not the only African country experiencing uprisings due to rising food prices, with several others, including Kenya, also seeing protests in recent years. Such uprisings have led to the toppling of leaders in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.
As Uganda prepares for possible protests, it is essential to address the underlying issues causing unrest among citizens. Instead of investing in equipment to suppress dissent, the government should focus on addressing poverty, corruption, and poor governance. The rights of citizens to peaceful assembly must also be respected, and violence should not be used to quell protests.
The international community must pay attention to the situation in Uganda and other African countries experiencing protests due to rising living costs. The root causes of these uprisings must be addressed, and human rights must be respected to ensure lasting peace and stability in these nations.
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