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Police have sealed off the Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) offices in Kampala a head of their planned demonstration against lifting of the presidential age limit.
Police officers have camped outside the Najjanankumbi based party headquarters and no one is allowed to enter.
Party officials were planning to march to Parliament today to present a motion to the Speaker not to allow the age limit discussions to take place.
In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen Kale Kayihura warned Ugandans against holding processions in favour or against the proposed removal of the presidential age limit
He said police had received notifications by different groups of people intending to hold processions in the city, municipalities, and other parts of the country relating to the anticipated debate in parliament on the proposed scrapping of the president age limit from the constitution.
He said they have also received information indicating that some people are planning to use the demonstrations to cause violence and mayhem in the city including targeting parliament.
"Police recognizes and has always facilitated the exercise, of the right to demonstrate peacefully and unarmed as provided in the constitution. However at the same time police has the obligation under the constitution to keep law and order, prevent crime, as well as protecting life and property" IGP Kayihura's statement reads.
He advises the masterminds of the processions to use other means such as television networks, radio station, print media and indoor meetings to express their positions on the matter. Gen Kayihura also warned the planners of the processions to be careful not to be used as a cover for violent criminal attacks and other criminal activities.
Recently, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) caucus endorsed a proposal to repeal article 102 (b) of the constitution, which restricts the presidential age limit to between 35 and 75 years of age. The move is allegedly aimed at paving way for President Museveni who will be above 75 years by the 2021 polls to offer himself for election.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah has defended the heavy security deployment at Parliament, instead faulting Members of Parliament for inciting violence.
It follows concerns from a section of MPs on the heavy Military police and regular police presence around Parliament and the city centre.
The deployment comes amidst heightened tensions on the proposed scrapping of article 102(b) from the Constitution, which restricts the presidential age limit to between 35 and 75 years of age.
Police deployment around parliament
The heavy deployment has drawn condemnation of legislators. However, Oulanyah has defended the deployment, saying security can't sit back and watch yet some MPs have declared violence.
"So if you are threatening violence and at the same time you expect the police to stay very far away from where you are planning to execute your violence.
From that scene where you have publicly declared will be the scene of violence but at the same time you’re saying the police should be very far away. Really? Honourable members, I think let us do things properly. If we do things properly the way we’re supposed to do then, nobody would be around. People are just doing their job", he said.
He says police is doing its job, which shouldn't worry the legislators as long as they maintain order. Parliament may debate motions on the proposed scrapping of the presidential age limit on Thursday once the two speakers agree on the matter.
On Tuesday, Oulanyah told the plenary that he had received a motion in relation to the age limit and another notice of motion and expects to discuss the matter with the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday morning on how to proceed before the motions are presented to Parliament.
Kadaga who has been away on official duty is reportedly back in the country.
Civil society offices of Action Aid in Kasanga and Great Lakes Institute For Strategic Studies in Ntinda are under police siege with staff not allowed to leave the premises.
Police cordoned off the offices this evening, according to the sworn affidavit sworn before by Makindye Chief Magistrate's court by AIP Henry Peter Walya attached to the Criminal Investigations Department because Action Aid in particular is suspected of being used for elicit transfer of funds for illegal activities.
Police drove in and prevented staff from leaving the premises
Policeman atop a building opposite Action Aid offices in Kasanga
The two NGOs have been vocal against the lifting of the presidential age limit from between 35 years and 75 years from the Constitution.
According to Crispin Kaheru, coordinator of the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CEDDU), police indicated interest in the IT, Accounts and Country Director's offices. All electronic devices were put under search according to him.
Yesterday, 287 of 296 the National Resistance Movement (NRM) MPs voted in support of a motion by Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi seeking leave to present a private member's bill to lift age limit from the Constitution.
Some of Action Aid staff were reportedly dressed in these activism T-shirts calling for the age limit to be maintained in the Constitution.
In a related development, Police chief Gen Kale Kayihura has banned any processions ahead of the anticipated debate in Parliament over lifting the age limit. Opposition MPs and civil society had called on the citizenry to attend parliament to witness the 'castration' of the Constitution. It is also understood that NRM has also mobolised its supporters to counter any opposition demonstrators.
Kayihura has advised the demonstrators to use other means such as TV and radio networks, indoor meeting, electronic and print media among others to express their support or disapproval.
As Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi prepares to seek leave of parliament to introduce a private member's bill to amend the Constitution to lift the presidential age limit, a lot is anticipated. The Observer will attempt to bring you latest updates. Kindly refresh for the latest updates.
9:30am: Police seal off Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) offices, City Hall. Deputy Lord Mayor Sarah Kanyike's office searched and nine activism T-shirts with inscriptions 'T'ogibukula' (Don't open the Constitution) confiscated.
Police says there will be no charge against Kanyike because the T-shirts were printed out of ignorance. City councillors had planned to march from City Hall to Constitutional Square (City Square) to protest against the amendment.
9:21am: Police foils Lira demo. Although the anti age limit amendment demonstration had not picked up, with residents seemingly interested but afraid to join in, police was quick to step in.
Police foils anti age limit amendment demo in Lira
9.20am: MP Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga) 'helped' by fellow MPs to access parliament. Police had issued an arrest warrant for the Member of Parliament after he failed to appear at police for interrogation earlier this week to explain his remarks about age limit amendment. Parliament police had attempted to block Ssekikuko from accessing the august House but were 'overwhelmed' by legislators.
9am: African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) journalist, Lydia Namubiru arrested. She was arrested from Democratic Party's vice president Mukasa Mbidde's home in Makindye.
8:50am: Makerere University students planning to march to Parliament. Students not committed to the cause being 'forced' out of lecture rooms. Strike started at Lumumba Hall but police calmed the situation very fast. Teargas fired and some student leaders arrested.
A placard calling on students to march to parliament
8:30am: Solitary protestor in Lira against age limit removal, a mocked-up coffin with inscriptions “REMOVAL OF PRESIDENTIAL AGE LIMIT IS THE DEATH OF OUR COUNTRY” placed next to burning car tyre in the middle of the road.
A mock coffin against age limit
A solitary protestor, bold enough to protest on his own as other residents in Lira look on from a distance
8:10am: Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago arrested from his home in Wakaligga in Rubaga Divison, he has been taken to Kira Division Police Station in Namugongo. Lukwago was arrested 'live' on TV. He was giving an interview to NTV's Morning@NTV show.