Members of Parliament sitting on the Defence Committee have grilled the Minister of State for Defence and Veteran Affairs, Bright Rwamirama over the manner in which the army under Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) arrested suspected murderers of former Police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi after they had been released on bail by Court.
Lwemiyaga County MP, Theodere Ssekikubo asked the Minister to explain where the army derives the mandate to arrest as well as rearresting suspects which he described as hijacking the role of other security agencies.
The legislators sitting on the committee noted that there is a new culture that is cropping up of the army taking over the role of the Police which portrays a total impasse and lack of cooperation within the security forces in the country.
Ntoroko MP, Gerald Ibanda noted; “We find it disturbing the way Kaweesi suspects were rearrested; these were people who were under your custody, there was a better way these people would have been arrested. Why not do the operation professionally?”
Minister Rwamirama in response said he wasn’t comfortable to answer such issues that are already before the court’s of law since after the arrest, the suspects were handed over to Police who later produced them before the Courts of law.
On his part, Butambala MP, Muwanga Kivumbi asked the the Minister to provide details of the said operation since the army is risking going out of the mandate and creating culture of impunity.
He questioned the legality of such operations which he feared might be in violation of the constitution.
The Minister said that there is no impasse within the security forces adding that the UPDF like the Prison, CMI and civilians can arrest criminals.
Rwamirama said that all forces should work hand in hand to ensure that criminals are brought to book.
The Minister however regretted the manner in which the Kaweesi suspects were arrested but noted that if they were left to go, they would have fled the country to join Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group in the DRC.
“Whatever happened during the rearrest was an oversight and regrettable, I agree there was a better way of handling it and they should have been detained and the files would have been produced before Courts of law,” Rwamirama said.
The Minister was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence Rosette Byengoma, the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Maj Gen Wilson Mbadi and Joint Chief of Staff Maj Gen Joseph Musanyufu.