The Inspector General of the Ugandan Police Force, Martins Ochola, has warned voters ahead of the January 14 presidential elections, that they will regret being born if they ferment any trouble before, during and after the elections.
According to Africa News, Ochola made the statement on Friday, January 8, in a statement where he warned the electorates against hanging around polling stations after casting their ballots in next week’s presidential vote or they would “regret why they were born.”
“We are trying to protect your lives. We shall beat you for your own sake! Any trouble maker will regret being born,” the police Chief was quoted as saying at a joint security briefing.
The warning came as the country faces a tense election on January 14, which has seen opposition candidates like Bobi Wine and others intimidated, arrested, rallies banned and protesters killed in clashes.
“We shall use reasonable force to ensure that you don’t go where there is a risk. I would like to assure the whole country that whoever causes trouble will regret why his or her mother gave birth to him or her,” Ochola said at the briefing.
The report also said that journalists in the East African country have also been targets of attacks by authorities, especially those covering opposition candidates and anti-government protests, as they have been arrested, beaten or had their equipment confiscated or destroyed by the police.
At the security briefing, Ochola reportedly justified the violence against journalists by saying:
“We’ve been beating journalists to restrain them from going where there’s danger. Police at times beat journalists to help them, for their own safety.”
At the same meeting, the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Adolf Mwesigye, said:
“Nothing happened to the families of those who stood in the past elections. It has never been the NRM policy to harm opponents,”
His comments, according to the report, was a veiled reference to presidential candidate Bobi Wine’s decision to fly his children out of Uganda during the election.
The election pits candidates against President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for 35 years and has shown no signs of letting up.
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