Parliament has condemned the unprofessional conduct of the Uganda Police force in the process of dispersing crowds following opposition politicians.
The condemnation was contained in a Motion moved by Hon. Muwanga Kivumbi (DP,Butambala County), Thursday, 21st July 2016.
The Motion follows incidents in which police officers and non-uniformed security personnel were seen in TV footage beating members of the public following the release of the Forum Democratic Change (FDC)’s Dr Kiiza Besigye from Luzira Prison.
Muwanga Kivumbi said that the trend of police beating up members of the public is not new having been seen from the days of the Movement system. He said that there are laid down procedures for the police to follow when dispersing illegal gatherings but these have not been followed.
“Corporal punishment is illegal. Government and those who enforce the law must be the first to obey the law but they are the ones breaking the law,’ Muwanga Kivumbi said.
He added that there are 21 militia groups that have been set up by security agencies and these are involved in the brutality cited. He expressed fear that the militias are a reflection of what happened in the past Obote and Amin regimes where militias took over the work of security agencies and tortured people.
“The perpetrators of these actions must be identified, encircled and eliminated for these actions to be stopped,” he said.
Muwanga Kivumbi dismissed the investigation and actions against the police officers as a public relations exercise aimed at hoodwinking the public.
“The Inspector General of Police is responsible for all the actions of his officers. This Parliament is a firewall to protect the people who should enjoy their liberty and freedom,” he added.
Ndorwa East MP, Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba said that caning people is the most degrading form of punishment especially if it is on innocent people or passers-by. He called for the condemnation of the police actions.
“Every Ugandan who wishes this country well must come out to condemn this brutality unequivocally,” Niwagaba said.
Niwagaba who is also the Shadow Attorney General said that the police officers involved should be charged in courts of law.
“I would like to see these police officers charged with torture under the laws established,” he added.
Hon. Angelline Osegge said that there is need to have a police that is trusted by the masses and called on the force to do it works professionally.
“Police has been named in acts of criminality, robbery and torture. How do we trust a police that is working with criminals,” she asked.
The Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Hon. Obiga Kania apologized to the House for the actions by the police officers who were involved in the two incidents.
“It was wrong and regrettable that the police officers acted unprofessionally. Mistakes were made and action has been taken. We need the police to keep law and order irrespective of the mistakes,” he said.
Bugweri County MP, Hon. Abdu Katuntu called for a forum for the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to address the challenges of the police so as to eliminate the confrontation with the opposition.
The Prime Minister, Rt.Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda welcomed the suggestion for dialogue between the government and the opposition.
“Government is ready for any meaningful discussions that will reduce the tension,” the Premier said.
Parliament also resolved that government takes necessary measures to ensure that the police conduct does not re-occur; that government updates the House on the actions taken and that all Ugandans and leaders respect the rule of law.