WARNING: Government Threatens Media Houses With Closure Over Hosting Guests Donned in Red Berets

Red Berets

No media house should host any guest wearing such red berets

BY AMUYA LYDIA OMECH

KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA| Media houses that host People Power supporters wearing the red berets while on-air face closure, government has announced.

The warning was relayed by Ofwono Opondo the Uganda Media Center Executive Director and Government Spokesman while interfacing with media owners under their association of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

Opondo said, “The gazette by Uganda People’s Defence forces stands until its quashed by a court of law. Anyone who wanted to stop the process would have sought court injunction but for now, it is illegal.”

The Media owners petitioned security agencies over the arrest and brutality meted out to journalists and panellists, especially the arrested of talk show guests as they leave the stations.

The government last year designated the red beret as official military clothing that could land members of the public who wear them in jail, a move that essentially bans the uniform of leading opposition leader and National Unity Platform (NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and his supporters.

Bobi Wine, a pop star turned politician who is running for president against President Yoweri Museveni in 2021, made the red beret his signature, calling it a “symbol of resistance”.

However, the beret, also worn by some soldiers, was included in Uganda’s first-ever gazette of all military clothing, which states that any member of the public found in possession of the items “is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life”, under section 160 of the 2005 UPDF Act.

“The dress code for the UPDF (Uganda People’s Defence Force) has been gazetted. The action was endorsed by the top organs of the army which also commended the dress committee for concluding the task assigned to it years back,” army spokesman Richard Karemire said in a statement on Monday.

“It manifests the commitment to define identity and outlook of a professional army as well as adhering to the EAC (East African Community) protocols,” he added.

According to the gazette dated September 18, the sale or wearing of any attire which resembles the army uniform is also banned.

Prohibited items, besides the red beret, include side caps, bush hats, ceremonial forage caps and camouflaged baseball caps.

“It is prohibited to wear or use any decoration supplied or authorised for use by any member of the defence forces or any decoration so nearly resembling that decoration and likely to deceive the public,” the gazette said.

Last week security operatives raided the NUP headquarters in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb and confiscated scores of red berets, badges, Tshirts and party cards among others.

Joel Ssenyonyi, a spokesperson for the People Power movement, said Museveni was getting “sleepless nights” because of their party.

 

Shift Media News

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