Police deployed seven cars and fired tear gas at a group of about twenty women who were matching to Parliament from the office of the Forum for Democratic Change in Kampala on Wednesday.
The women who included DP’s Shifra Lukwago, were set to present a petition to the Speaker of Parliament to protest the recent alleged mishandling of one FDC lady Fatuma Naigaga at Kinoni along Masaka Mbarara road.
The blockade lasted several hours and forced officers to brave the afternoon heavy down pour.
The display of force in the face of unarmed women led by FDC woman league boss Ingrid Turinawe, has forced some observers to concluded that the Police are using unreasonable force or that they are simply unfit.
Livingstone Sewanyana, the Executive Director of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) was blunt in heaping blame onto the Police for being partisan and openly supporting the ruling government.
Sewanyana said: “The Challenge is that the police are partisan. They have divided loyalty. What they are doing is trying to preserve the regime. Such acts of high handedness are called regime policing.
Sewanyana added: “This is unacceptable. We need adequate pressure to build and as we head to the election date, these actions will continue and the police will face a serious situation.”
Sewanyana’s warning follows another bizarre incident that happened at Kinoni that saw one woman’s nakedness exposed allegedly at the hands of the police force.
The continued show and use of force, according to Sewanyana, has driven Ugandans angrier and desperate.
Sewanyana warned Police to remain professional to avoid a boomerang: “We urge Police to remain professional and maintain law and order if they are to forestall adverse pubic reaction.”
Sewanyana argues that the level of consciousness about police brutality has risen in recent years and more people are willing to stand up against human rights abuses.
But he warned: “The inevitable thing is that the Police will use live bullets and if this happens, people will resort to armed resistance and that will be ugly.”
Another human rights lawyer, Nicholas Opio views the determination displayed by police officers as a sign of overzealousness.
On Fatuma’s highly publicised stripping or undressing, Police said she was simply a harlot. Further efforts by this newspaper to obtain a comment on Wednesday’s events at Katonga road were futile as the Police spokespersons were not picking telephone calls.