KAMPALA– A section of legislators have ridiculed the recently released guidelines by President Yoweri Museveni on the treatment of suspects during arrest arguing the guidelines fall short of addressing the torture Ugandans have suffered at hands of security operatives during arrest as well as in custody.
The Legislators’ remarks follow President’s directives contained in a letter October 28, 2018 where he outlined new guidelines to be followed by all security agencies in dealing with riot incidents, political events as well as arrest of suspects.
In his proposal, the Commander in Chief warned security forces against using teargas proposing to have Police resort to use of water cannons.
Ibrahim Ssemujju,the Opposition Chief Whip said Museveni’s new guidelines are a characteristic of people who are aged and castigated the President for telling the troops to box or shoot rowdy crowds.
Ssemujju also ridiculed Museveni;’s remarks that Yusuf Kawooya’s was brutally arrested after biting arresting officers.
He explained: “He (Museveni) forgets he is the President because the moment you are the President, before you issue a statement, you first collect all the information. First establish did Kawooya bite any security guard? That you must establish before you speak.”
Ssemujju added: “There is no hope his statement is giving. The statement is issued by someone who has suffered immense pressure because of what has been happening. I don’t know why he issued a statement.”
Franca Akello (Agago Woman) also attacked Museveni over Kawooya biting statements, “Someone says the suspect was biting a security officer when all Ugandans have seen the way Kawooya was tortured, he didn’t even have the chance to bite anyone. I think it is a mockery and we can’t take it for word as he says it,” said Akello.
Akello described the new guidelines as fake, stating that Uganda already has laws in place against torture.
“Those new guidelines are fake because why must a President speak about something that exists? International and Ugandans laws are clear that suspects are innocent until proven guilty. For him to come up with such guidelines, what kind of guidelines are those?” asked Akello.
Sylvia Akello MP(Otuke Woman) asserted that there was no need for Museveni to hide behind the statements, but he should first deal with security officers who have been behind the torture of civilians during arrest and while in custody.
“What has he done about them? But this issue of hurrying to issue blanket statements year in, year out. In fact these days, it is week in, week out. He has made it a weekly statement which is also weak itself,” Akello said.
Geoffrey Macho, (Busia Municipality) supported Museveni’s guidelines but argued it was time for NRM to take more action to end torture among civilians.