Deputy Speaker Criticizes High-Handed Arrest of Female Legislators

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa has criticized the security agencies for what he called the brutal arrest of 11 female legislators.

The legislators from the Opposition while arrested on Thursday, 27 April 2023 as they left Parliament to take a petition to the Minister for Internal Affairs. 

The Members of Parliament have protested the continued harassment of their colleagues by security agencies as they celebrate the International Womens’ Day.

Tayebwa called the arrest demeaning and high-handed in nature adding that, ‘one would think the police were arresting terrorists because some of the MPs were bruised while others had their clothes ripped’.

Tayebwa urged the government to investigate the arresting officers and those supervising such operations saying they may not be serving the interests of government.
“These people must be working for an invisible hand because the way they went about the arrests casts a bad image on the government that is aimed at its sabotage,” he added.

The Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi said that the brutality displayed during the arrests was unwarranted and that he ‘strongly condemns it’.

Muhoozi revealed that he had issued instructions to release the legislators unconditionally.

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga said that whereas he appreciated the minister’s sentiments and orders issued to that effect, he still demanded action on the police officers.

Mpuuga added that lodging a petition to the Speaker over the matter did not stop them from engaging in a peaceful public demonstration that is legal and constitutional. 
“I have seen, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, a serving army officer, breaking the law by hosting public rallies while being escorted by ministers without being touched,” he said, adding that, ‘do these people operate under a different legal regime?” he asked.

Mpuuga held that the continuation of such actions will arouse dissent across the country if not mitigated and that if repeated, he will do everything under the law to ensure Parliament attends only to matters safeguarding the rights of its citizens.

The Deputy Speaker suspended proceedings of the House and held a meeting with the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, Opposition Party Whips, the Minister of Internal Affairs and Attorney General.

The meeting resolved that action is taken on the officers who mistreated the MPs and that their actions highlighted in a report for Women’s Day Celebrations.

The Deputy Speaker revealed that the Speaker, Anita Among had gone to the Central Police Station to ensure the unconditional release of the MPs.

The 11 who were arrested include Joyce Bagala (Mityana District), Stella Apolot (Ngora District), Florence Kabugho (Kasese district), Betty Ethel Naluyima (Wakiso District) and Joan Acom Alobo (FDC, Soroti City).

The others are, Asinansi Nyakato (Hoima City), Hellen Nakimuli (Kalangala), Juliet Kakande (Masaka City), Manjeri Kyebakutika (Jinja City), Hanifa Nabukeera (Mukono District) and Joan Namutaawe (Masaka District).

The MPs on Wednesday, 26 April 2023 petitioned the Speaker of the brutality meted on them as they held events in their constituencies by security operatives and Resident District Commissioners (RDCs).

The latest incident was on Friday, 21 April 2023 in Buvuma Islands which led to the hospitalization of the district’s Woman MP, Hon. Susan Mugabi.