The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has strongly condemned the brutal arrest of presidential candidates, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu of the National Unity Platform (NUP) and Patrick Amuriat Oboi of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) on the day of nominations.
The police on Tuesday this week brutally arrested Bobi Wine immediately after he was nominated by the Electoral Commission to run for president and teargassed his supporters.
The police had earlier brutally arrested Amuriat at FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi and from where he was driven him to the nomination venue at Kyambogo University Sports Grounds barefooted.
The Uganda Law Society, on Thursday, evening issued a statement condemning police brutality and called for prosecution of the individual officers responsible.
The ULS President, Pheona Wall Nabasa said, “the Uganda Law Society condemns in the highest regard the blatant police brutality that was meted out towards presidential aspirants and their supporters in the course of the recently concluded 2021 presidential nomination process that occurred between November 2, 2020 and November 3, 2020 at Kyambogo nomination center.”
“Of particular note was the case of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential aspirant, engineer Patrick Amuriat Oboi who was violently picked up from FDC offices by security forces there by losing his shoes in the process.”
Pheona also said that ULS has noted how security forces forcefully broke into Kyagulanyi’s vehicle, grabbed and bundled him into a waiting vehicle and drove him directly to his home which in the process left many people seriously injured and others across the country who were celebrating Bobi Wine’s nomination brutalized by police and admitted in hospitals.
Taking note of the directives issued by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola on November 2, 2020 to deal with anyone sabotaging the nomination process, Pheona stated that this does not take away the freedom of people to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peacefully and unarmed as is provided under Article 29(1)(d) of the Constitution.
“The ULS therefore condemns in the strongest terms the impunity and violence that was demonstrated by the security organs on non violent civilians during nominations,” she said.
The ULS recommended that “every security officer that is reported to have perpetuated the violence be prosecuted in their individual capacity. The ULS is willing to support the victims in their pursuit of justice should they need it.”
The Law Society also recommended that the Government and its armed forces everywhere, at all times should respect and protect the rights and freedoms of all Ugandans irrespective of their political persuasions.
It further recommended that police refrains from use of unnecessary and brutal force, arbitrary arrests or detentions, and instead protect, help and reassure Ugandans and be seen to do all this with integrity, sound judgment and professionalism.