Security advised to guide PWD during riots

By Edwin Muhumuza

Persons with Disabilities have cautioned Police and other security organs to desist from brutality amid concerns that some members who might not be able to hear gunshots might be harassed.

This has become a norm for security forces to disperse campaign crowds in the ongoing electoral exercise according to the Chairperson National Union of Disabled Persons (NUDIPU), Mpindi Bumali.

“I want to appeal to security forces, when you are implementing security measures you must be aware that there are persons with disability who are not listening to what you are saying for example the deaf or the visually impaired. They may be moving close to but they have not heard the order” Mpindi said.

Last week the city and other towns were engulfed in smoke during protests following the brutal arrest of presidential candidate Bobi Wine by security forces. Running battles ensued all day amid gun shots and tear gas which affected both protesters and non-rioters including persons with disability.

In light of that, while speaking to international press, Army spokesperson Brig Flavia Byekwaso said, “This is a war-like situation, so the army has to deploy, you can see what is going on, people are being stoned, people are being killed, vehicles are being vandalized, tires everywhere. These things are spontaneous on all streets, so police cannot handle such a situation.”

According to Bumali, In case there is riot like that and security forces come across a person with a disability who is helpless, they should at least help them and put them in a safe place until the riots are done because they cannot run like others.

“Some do not hear or see where to go. They need guidance from you officers rather than tear gassing them or shooting at them thereby increasing their vulnerability.” He noted.

His remarks come ahead of commemorations to mark the international day for persons with disabilities scientifically.

“This year unfortunately because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not going to commemorate it the usual way. The ministry has advised that we should have not more than 150 people, however we shall still have stakeholders’ views to come up with recommendations on several issues,” according to Mpindi.