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He has no mandate! Law Society president takes on ISO boss over illegal detentions

Col. Kaka Bagyenda, the Director General of Internal Security Organisation and the Uganda Law Society boss Mr Simon Peter Kinobe respectively. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The President of the Uganda Law Society, Mr Simon Peter Kinobe, has said that Col. Kaka Bagyenda, the Director General of Internal Security Organisation (ISO), has no statutory mandate and authority to arrest or detain anyone in the country.

Mr Kinobe’s remarks come after ISO detained for four days Mr Patrick Mugisha, a lawyer in a safe house in Kyengera, on the outskirts of Kampala.

However, the Law society president accused Col Kaka of kidnapping Ugandans, arguing that Col Kaka under the law has no legal mandate to arrest anyone.

“We’re calling the arrests kidnaps because section 4 and 11 of the Security Act spells out the mandate of ISO, it says they have no authority to arrest whatsoever,” he said.

“The individual (Kaka Bagyenda) who carried this [Mugisha’s arrest] out does not have a statutory mandate to arrest. He can’t arrest as a private individual. The arrest was carried out by CMI on instructions of Kaka. Counsel Patrick Mugisha was kept in a safe house in Kyengera which is not gazetted by law for purposes of detention. There’s no justification for impunity,” he added.

Mr Kinobe said holding people in communicado takes Uganda back to the dark ages.

“The constitution of the Republic of Uganda has decreed that a person shouldn’t be held beyond 48 hrs. We have this particular article because of our very dark history where people used to disappear and never seen again. If insecurity is on the rise, don’t act with impunity, it means you act smarter. Kaka has broken all these provisions, he keeps people in safe hours and holds them beyond 48 hours,” he said on Monday during NBS TV’s breakfast show.

Last week, the Uganda Law Society in a strongly worded letter dated August 3, 2019, accused Col Bagyenda of usurping the powers of other security agencies and acting with impunity by kidnapping, intimidating, harassing and arresting lawyers without any reason.

“The ISO Director has now taken over the role of other security agencies and has turned ISO into a clearing agency for wealthy individuals to the detriment of regular citizens. Despite the lack of statutory mandate to arrest and detain, the same has continually detained citizens in places not gazetted by law and beyond the statutory period of 48 hours. The most notorious safe house used by ISO is in Kyengera protected by the military police under the command of the UPDF,” Mr Kinobe’s letter reads in part.

“As Uganda Law Society, we cannot continue to look on as a few individuals descend our country into chaos without reprisal. We cannot be observers in the perpetration of impunity with no call to action. We accordingly call upon all lawyers to action, To prosecute both criminally and in civil court the director of ISO Col. Frank Kaka Bagyenda for these acts of impunity and, to demand the immediate unconditional release of our Advocates illegally arrested and detained by the said ISO. Should ISO fail to comply with our demands to unconditionally release the detained citizens by Wednesday the 7th Day of August 2019, we shall have no choice but to further escalate the matter,” he added.

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