Gov’t must explain UPDF brutality – Kadaga

At two separate events, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga added her weight on voices calling for prosecution of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) officers over alleged human rights violations.

Addressing lawyers under the Uganda Law Society (ULS) during the launch of the quarterly law report at the Kampala Serena Hotel, Kadaga accused the UPDF Command of paying deaf ear to various accusations of rights violations brought up against UPDF officers.

Over the past month, the UPDF has been in the spotlight for the brutal manner in which its officers broke up protests against the imprisonment of Kyadondo East Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and 32 other opposition supporters.

With President Yoweri Museveni openly defending the army’s brutality, Kadaga hinted on the possibility of her initiating criminal proceedings against individual soldiers.

At Serena, she put to task Brig Charles Wacha, the UPDF officer in charge of Human Rights to explain why it is taking so long for the UPDF to bring to book individual officers who tortured and maimed MPs, journalists and other civilians during the Arua Municipality by-elections.

“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.

She said that despite endless efforts of reporting to the UPDF High Command to have the culprits punished but all in vain.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga (C) joins in a group photo at the launch of the ULS 3rd quarter #RuleOfLawReport

“The brutality meted out 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 said.

Brig Wacha said that processes were on to arraign the UPDF soldiers who tortured people during the Arua Municipality by-elections before the General Court Martial.

Unconvinced, Kadaga used the afternoon plenary session of Parliament to direct the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda to address Parliament on the alleged impunity of the UPDF.
Kadaga’s tough stance follow her weekend visit to fishing communities in Buvuma and Namayingo who accused UPDF marines accused of torturing them.