By Independent Reporter
Uganda’ Police chief has spoken out against what he called unprofessional journalism practiced by some media houses ahead of the elections. IGP Gen.Kale Kayihura said Uganda has had a relatively peaceful election period despite media exaggerations.
He mainly hit out stories about a fire at a business premises a day after riots in Kampala, that a Kampala newspaper said was related to the elections.
“I fear the camera more than the bullet,” Kayihura told the press, “because it distorts the truth”.
He blamed the clashes between police and political party FDC supporters in a Kampala suburb Wandegeya on Monday on paid criminal gangs. He blamed poor communication from the FDC as the main cause of the clashes on Monday.
Kayihura whoever left the press conference called by the Electoral Commission without taking questions from the international press who wanted to know whether police used live ammunition to stop the riot on Monday that resulted in one death.
The US State Department on Monday stressed the need for a “peaceful, transparent and credible electoral process” and called on all sides to “refrain from provocative actions or rhetoric that raise tensions.”
Key opposition candidate Kizza Besigye, a three-time loser was briefly detained by police in Monday’s chaotic protests. He however said he was still confident of ending veteran President Museveni’s three-decade grip on power.
“The election cannot be free or fair, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be won,” Besigye told AFP, saying he was still aiming for an “outright win”, not a second round run-off in which the opposition might unify.
“We believe we can win the unfree and unfair election, that’s what we are trying to do,” Besigye said.
Museveni and his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party is widely predicted to win a fifth term in power.
Seven opposition candidates are vying against veteran leader Museveni at the February 18 election and there are fears violence could mar the vote, with all sides accusing each other of arming militias to press their claims.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga said Besigye had been “in total disregard of his authorised programme” on Monday, and that the protestors went on the “rampage, yelling, threatening, looting and damaging property,” and hurling bricks at police.
“The police have a duty to protect the safety of the public, together with the right to protect themselves, and had to act accordingly, given the intensity of the attacks they faced,” Enanga said.