The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has revealed that she is considering filing criminal charges against individual army officers that have continued to visit torture and brutality upon Ugandans.
Kadaga made the threats today during the launch of the Uganda Law Society quarterly Rule of Law Report at Serena Hotel in Kampala.
At the event, Kadaga accused the UPDF Command of paying a deaf ear despite several cries and concerns of torture that have been reported by members of the public against the UPDF officers.
The UPDF Officer in charge of Human Rights Brig Charles Wacha was put on task to explain why UPDF has taken long to bring to book individual security officers who allegedly tortured MPs and other Ugandans during the Arua municipality by-election.
A month ago, four MPs including Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine (Kyadondo East), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo municipality), Paul Mwiru (Jinja East), Francis Zaake (Mityana municipality) and Kassiano Wadri (Arua municipality) were arrested in Arua.
They, together with some other civilians with whol they were apprehended later accused security personnel of torturing them during their arrest and in detention. Some of them including Bobi Wine, Zaake, Asara Night, Abora Jane and Atiku Shaban said they were badly assaulted to the extent that they could not manage to walk.
On Tuesday, Kadaga said that on top of such tortures, she has received a number of complaints and petitions from the fishing communities accussing UPDF officers of treating them inhumanely in their operations against illegal fishing in the country.
Several Ugandans in the fishing communities have been brutally tortured and some have lost lives as well as having their property confiscated including vehicles and land.
“I want you to educate me how I can initiate proceedings against soldiers either in Court Martial or elsewhere for violating human rights of the people of Uganda. I have serious intentions of several cases for flouting human rights not only Arua but in Namayingo,” Kadaga said.
The Speaker noted that she has sent several letters to the UPDF Command to have the culprits punished but she has received no response.
“The brutality meted against civilians in the fishing industry has gone unabated because they have sent the complaints to UPDF Command and nothing has been done. I want to know how to initiate proceedings,” Kadaga added.
In response, Wacha assured the Speaker that all UPDF officers that tortured people during Arua Municipality by-elections will be soon arraigned before the General Court Martial.
He noted that this would be in the Force’s best interest as UPDF’s image has been tainted badly and redeeming this image will not be easy after several people were beaten tortured and maimed during the fracas.