Once again, an overwhelming majority of MPs has come out to condemn the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) over its involvement in civilian matters, something they say is a precursor for rights violations .
Wednesday’s backlash was prompted by Jinja East MP Paul Mwiru’s motion in which he stated that UPDF’s recent intervention in the Makerere student crisis and the fisheries sector was in contravention of their constitutional duties.
Mwiru argued that whereas Sections 42-45 of the UPDF Act provide for the army’s intervention in times of great need, they should not use this pretext to obscure other constitutional provisions.
He noted that the army’s continued intervention had proven to be a precursor to rights abuses that have manifested in the country of late.
Citing article 79 (1) of the constitution, Mwiru, implored parliament to set up a select committee within 45 days to collectively investigate these complaints, a matter that was deferred by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
Opining on this matter, Brig. Flavia Byekwaso the army representative defended her institution saying unbecoming atrocities mentioned by MPs were the individual work of rogue elements and not the army policy.
As such Byekwaso said every effort must be made to ensure that these army officers answer for their actions.
“I thought that we should demand for prosecution of the errant officers. From the submission of members they really have facts. According to their submission they know the people, they know their names, and they know where they are,” she pointed out.
Byekwaso nonetheless maintained that the constitution mandates them to ensure security and that prior to their deployment there is a follow up procedure that has to be adhered to.
Earlier Kioga county MP Okello Anthony (NRM) had raised a complaint over the deaths fishermen citing the case of Moses Ochieng in June 25th 2017.
It should be noted that this is not the first time the army is on spot over rights abuses either fishermen or opposition politicians.
Though the motion was passed by parliament, Bukhooli legislator George Ouma Abott is afraid that if stringent measures are not taken this issue could become monotonous.
“If we are going to defend what is wrong in this country I think we are likely to remain in problems. Because I have seen we have talked about these things today we are talking about them,” Ouma noted