Uganda Police have arrested a supporter of National Unity Platform (NUP) as part of an investigation into alleged illegal possession of “clothes similar to government stores (military attire),” an official said this Thursday.
Earlier today, NUP leader Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine accused the police and military of raiding the party’s Regional office.
“They have wreaked havoc, arrested our people and beaten up others. They went as far as searching our candidate’s homes! They are vandalizing all materials, and are removing our posters all over Moroto town,” said Bobi.
“We condemn these actions in the strongest terms possible. It is clear that Museveni is very, very, very scared. We only have to keep pressing,” he added.
However, in a statement later today, Police said a joint security intelligence led operation succeeded in arresting one suspect identified as Angulo Andrew Lokong, the NUP coordinator in Karamoja as part of the crackdown on illegal possession of attire resembling security forces’ uniform.
The operation was carried out in the area of Camp Swahili South division in Moroto municipality.
“This follows a series of videos that were seen making rounds on social platforms this week, showing youths dressed in clothes similar to government stores (military attire),” said deputy police spokesperson Polly Namaye.
NUP supporters in the video wore red berets which were recently gazetted for security forces.
The suspect has been charged and is detained at Moroto Police Station.
Namaye said a “search has also carried out following his arrest. Further investigation into this matter is ongoing to bring all the perpetrators to book.”
She added: “Military uniform or clothes similar to it, or any other government stores for that matter are a prerogative of the government and should not be abused in any way.”
Uganda’s armed forces recently started arresting and prosecuting people found in possession of military accessories, insignia, decoration and uniform – including the red beret used as a symbol of the opposition movement, People Power.
According to the Uganda Gazette of September 18, 2019, “members of the public are hereby informed that unless granted authority by a competent military authority it is prohibited to sell, offer, or expose for sale, wear or use any uniform so nearly resembling the uniform of the defence forces and likely to deceive the public.”
The People Power’s party uniform is a red shirt, black trousers and a red beret.
Red flags were first used in the 1848 French Revolution to represent “the blood of angry workers” and it has remained the colour for the political left – being taken up by socialist, communist and other left-wing radicals.
Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) used the red beret to represent the blood shed by those who have died during the struggle for economic freedom.
The military style beret had become a symbol synonymous with leaders of revolutionary struggles, such as Chez Guevara, Fidel Castro and Thomas Sankara.
The round, flat caps or ‘berets’ originate from the Middle Ages in France, where shepherds in the Pyrenees Mountains used them as protection from the weather.
In 1889 they were taken up by the French military, later coming to the attention of the British military during the First World War. By the mid-20th Century they had become popular as military headgear across the globe.
However, according to the Uganda Gazette, the red headgear is only used by Military police; army green for infantry; maroon for Special Forces Command; dark brown for armored brigade and motorized infantry; grey for air force; black for artillery and navy blue for marines.
The army said the dress code guide “manifests the commitment to define identity and outlook of a professional army as well as adhering to the EAC protocols.”