Parliament has said it will not sit effective next week if President Yoweri Museveni has not responded to the Speaker’s letter in which she demanded the arrest of individuals within the security agencies who perpetrated torture upon legislators and other civilians.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga wrote to the President on Monday raising concern over the manner in which legislators were brutally arrested in Arua district recently.
Kadaga demanded that the President reveals and hands over the individuals said to be part of the Special Forces Command (SFC), to courts of law for reprimand.
“Your Excellency, I am concerned that no effort has been made to arrest the security officers from the SFC, military Police and Uganda Police Force who were involved in the violent actions against unarmed civilians,” Kadaga wrote in her August 27 letter to President Museveni.
She noted that such acts are a breach of Section 21 (a) and (b) of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act 2012.
“This therefore is to demand that the officers concerned be apprehended at the earliest opportunity and presented in court,” the Speaker said.
“Unless this is done, it will be very difficult to conduct government business in Parliament. The Ugandan Parliament will not condone or acquiesce in acts of torture,” Kadaga further informed the President.
Yesterday, opposition Chief Whip, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda proposed to the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah that the House delays plenary until it has received a response from the President.
He argued that Parliamentary work can wait for two days, stating that they can not proceed with business when MPs are not comfortable with the manner in which their collegues were treated.
Semujju said that the issue of the security of MPs has to be addressed urgently to maintain the autonomy of Parliament.
Similarly, Dokolo district woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal submitted that Members should not continue with business in Parliament when the perpetrators of violence have not been brought to book.
Other MPS who deliberated on the issue included Aruu county North MP, Samuel Odongo Otto, Padyere county MP, Bugabula south MP Henry Morrice Kibalya and Budali West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi.
Some of them alluded to the assault that was visited on MPs in 2017 during the contentious debate on constitutional amendments, whose perpetrators to date have not been penalized.
They argued that an attack on a single member is an attack on the entire Parliament. They sought a full debate and resolution on the matter.
The Deputy Speaker ruled in favor of the request that Parliament delays its sitting effective next week on Tuesday unless it has received President Yoweri Museveni’s response.