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Security forces on the spot over House chaos

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By Maria Nassiwa

Mbale: All the five judges in age limit petition faulted security forces over their involvement during the debate of the controversial constitutional amendment Bill.

In each of their rulings the justices said the beating, torture and arrest of members of Parliament during the debate was a violation of the constitution.

“The actions of the armed forces of the Uganda Police in beating, torturing, arresting and subjecting several Members of Parliament were inhuman,” read Justice Dollo Owinyi Alfonse.

Justice Cheborion Barishaki said, “The speaker’s directive was for removing the MPs from parliament but not to detain them. Their arrest and detention was uncalled for .The excessive force and treatment of MPs was inhuman.”

Last year plain clothed men invaded Parliament, and forcefully removed members of the opposition whose actions had stalled the proceedings of the House. In the process, many were beaten while others were detained in police cells.

The judges held that, “the arbitrary action of the armed forces of the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces, Uganda Police Force frustrated, restrained, prevented and stopped some 15 Members of Parliament from attending and participating in the debate and proceedings of the House” which was wrong.

“This undermined Parliamentary independence and democracy and as such was inconsistent with and in contravention of the Constitution,

“There was absolutely no reason for the intervention of the UPDF. These members of the UPDF who intervened went barehanded in civilian attire something that signified violence,” of the judgments read in part.

Also, the men of the law faulted the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Asuman Mugyenyi for authoring a directive to police asking them to block cross constituency consultations by the MPs during age limit consultation period.

“It was wrong for the police to restrict Members of Parliament from exercising their freedom of association and movement within their respective constituencies, and elsewhere in Uganda, to consult the people about the Bill,” the judges rules.

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