PARLIAMENT -Parliament is set to debate the report by the ad hoc committee on the investigations into the condition of MPs and other suspects arrested in the run-up to the Arua Municipality by-election.
The debate was made public on the order paper for today’s plenary sitting with the item coming fourth on schedule and it is allocated 20minutes. The Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah is expected to chair this afternoon plenary sitting.
On August 15, Parliament constituted an adhoc committee to ascertain the condition of the MPs and other people with whom they were arrested on the eve of the by-election in Arua municipality.
The MPs in detention were Robert Kyagulanyi, Paul Mwiru, Gerald Karuhanga, Wadri Kassiano, Hon Francis Zaake, former MP Michael Mabikke and 26 others arrested during the scuffle. Five of the suspects were women.
Parliament’s resolution followed the failure of the Executive to satisfactorily explain the circumstances of the arrest, the whereabouts, plight and condition of MPs in detention and that of other suspects after reports that they had been tortured by security operatives.
The committee was headed by Doreen Amule, (Amolatar Woman MP) who also doubles as Chairperson of the Defence Committee. Other members are; Jovah Kamateeka (Mitooma Woman), Medard Sseggona, (MP Busiro East),
Andrew Baryayanga (MP Kabale Municipality), Bernard Atiku (MP Ayivu County) and Allan Ssewanyana (MP Makindye West).
When the report came up for debate last week, Amule declined to present it saying she was not ready. This was despite the fact that five members had appended their signatures to the report, but Amule had declined to endorse her own report, telling Parliament that the Clerk to Parliament had other details to add to it before it could be tabled on the floor.
The report highlighted the gross torture the suspects underwent and showed that the detained MPs and the other suspects revealed that they had been severely battered with Karuhanga, Mwiru and Mabikke complaining of chest and back pain. Karuhanga was limping as a result of an injury on his knee.
The report stated that the MPs said that they had been tortured during and after arrest while in police custody in Arua and during transportation between the place of arrest and detention at Arua CPS and later Bombo Military barracks.
The suspects told the committee that the brutality and beating was administered by men dressed in the Special Forces Command (SFC) uniform. Out of the 26 suspects jointly detained with the MPs, five were women and two of them could neither sit nor stand as they groaned in excruciating pain on the floor of the suspects’ holding facility at the Magistrates court in Gulu.
The committee highlighted that these women could barely speak and that Asara Night suffered haemorrhage following the torture. The MPs argued that the suspects’ condition was symptomatic of the effects of brutality and savagery.