Kampala, Uganda | URN | Legal Aid services providers have condemned Uganda’s security personnel for acts of brutality meted out on presidential candidates.
Protests erupted in different parts of the country on Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th after the arrest of Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine in Luuka district.
In a statement, Arthur Nsereko, the Chairperson Board of Directors Legal Aid Service Providers Network [LASPNET], an umbrella organisation for 54 legal service providers noted that the protests did not warrant the use of excessive force against the civilians.
“Whereas LASPNET does not in any way condone violence in all its forms, we hasten to say that how the security agencies of this country have responded by firing live ammunition into protestors and innocent onlookers who are unarmed, is unlawful and considered the use of excessive force,” reads the statement in part.
LASPNET Executive Director Sylvia Namubiru says acts of security pose enormous threats to the right to life, freedom from torture, freedom of expression and right to liberty and access to information as guaranteed by the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and that it is unfortunate that security has defended its actions.
On Friday 20th, the Security Minister Gen. Elly Tumwine defended the actions of security personnel.
He said that the police and other security personnel have a right to kill protesters if they are attacked. Speaking to reporters at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, Tumwine said that he had no apologies for anybody who was killed while attacking security forces as they tried to put down protests.
Nambiru warns that if the actions of the security personnel are not checked, it will cast doubt to a peaceful, free and fair election process and will greatly undermine the credibility of the forthcoming elections. She asked security to discipline security officers who were behind the acts of violence against people.
Namubiru also asked security to disband the militias who were seen holding guns and terrorizing innocent civilians.
She further asked the Electoral Commission [EC] to take charge of the electoral process and caution security against the selective application of the law.
LASPNET also urged candidates to observe campaign guidelines set by the Electoral Commission [EC] and the Ministry of Health.