Kampala, Uganda |THE INDEPENDENT | A senior Born Again leader has urged the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) not to shy from using force to ensure the elections are peaceful.
Speaking to journalists during the Regional Stakeholder’s Dialogue on 2021 General Elections for Buganda Region held at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel, Head of the Born Again Faiths in Uganda Pastor Joseph Serwadda said that the council has identified hotspots during the campaigns and he would like the UPDF to exercise its peace keeping expertise.
“I am talking about South Sudan, Burundi, Eritrea, Somalia, Central Africa Republic and elsewhere. If these troops do such a perfect job elsewhere, why should they stay in the barracks when we have such a big undertaking, ” Pastor Serwadda said.
He continued, “I want to vote in peace. I want to go home after voting, expect to sleep well and wait for results whenever the come out, however they come. I know the UPDF is a people’s force. I know they are experts in peace keeping. I would like to see them on the streets where we have these little marks of hotspots.”
The Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) has observed that Uganda’s troops that have brought peace to the region in states such as Somalia have no reason to stay in the barracks during a heated and tense election period in the country.
Msgr. Charles Kasibante the IRCU Board Chairperson said that the council has noted a growing level of fear and apprehension among the population regarding possible violence during these last days of the campaigns and voting time.
He says the council has also noted growing mistrust between civilians and the security personnel and yet the collaboration between the two is critical in ensuring peace.
Msgr. Kasibante says the council is worried about the failure by some citizens to realize that Uganda is a motherland where all must feel at home and work to thrive.
He says that through the dialogue involving several stakeholders, key people have come together who have the capacity and mandate to influence the current political environment for stability and meaningful participation in the electoral processes.
Ugandans go to the polls on Thursday to elect a president and members of parliament following a campaign marred by unprecedented violence in which at least 60 people have been killed in election-related violence, hundreds injured and more than 800 arrested.
The UPDF and military police are patrolling the capital Kampala and other towns, and have occupied several open spaces.
During a joint security press conference on the forthcoming general elections at police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala on Thursday last week, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen Odongo Jeje said some presidential candidates have made statements threatening peace and security.
The opposition rejects claims they are planning violence and say the military deployments are an attempt to intimidate voters and opposition supporters in order to suppress voter turnout and enable vote-rigging.
The lethal use of force to break up riots in November provoked national and international condemnation. It also raised questions around the standard applied by Uganda’s security forces in quelling riots.
Serwadda however says it is necessary for the army to show force and might in order to deter any elements that may want to cause mayhem.