The Speaker Anita Among has tasked government to bring errant Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) to book and report to the House on the action taken.
The Speaker’s directive followed a statement by the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja on the brutal arrest of women Members of Parliament in various parts of the country.
Nabbanja presented her statement on Wednesday, 03 May 2023.
“We need to know the terms of reference of RDCs and what they are expected to do. I know they are the heads of security in the district but I know where some of them have gotten involved in land grabbing,” said Among.
She also tasked the Prime Minister to present a report to the House within one month on action taken on security officers involved in brutal arrests of female legislators.
“We need a thorough investigation into this. In one month, you must tell us who is who and what happened. I urge MPs to inform police when you organize events in your constituencies because you need to be protected,” Among added.
Hon. Joyce Bagala (NUP, Mityana District Woman Representative) said she informed police on plans to hold Women’s Day celebrations, and that the District Police Commissioner and RDC were informed, but frustrated the organisation of the event.
“Madam Speaker, you guided that for all Women’s Day celebrations, the Woman MP is the guest of honour. In Mityana, the RDC said he was deployed to ensure that Joyce Bagala is removed. We requested that the Minister for the Presidency comes here and explains the role of RDCs,” Bagala said.
Hon. Christine Kaaya (NUP, Kiboga District Woman Representative) said the RDC has frustrated events organized by women who invite the Woman MP to preside over.
“RDCs are always intervening in events organized by female MPs and when you look at their responses, you can tell that there is an invisible hand,” Kaaya said.
Soroti City Woman Representative, Hon. Joan Alobo said the Resident City Commissioner intentionally frustrated efforts to invite Hon. Ceclila Ogwal to preside as chief guest over the city’s Women’s Day celebrations.
“The RCC is on record saying that he will never allow an Opposition Member of Parliament to preside over a national function,” she said.
Nabbanja said investigations into the brutal arrest of 11 female MPs on 27 April 2023, and other previous incidents have commenced to establish circumstances under which they happened.
She gave reports on arrests carried out in the districts of Kasese, Soroti, Buvuma, Mityana and Kampala involving female legislators.
“Investigations will include reviewing the CCTV footage in order to take appropriate action. As soon as footage of what transpired in Buvuma came to the attention of the IGP, he ordered the Police Professional Standards Unit to investigate the alleged beating and torture of Hon. Suzan Nakaziba,” Nabbanja said.
She called on legislators to always inform the Police on plans to hold processions or assemblies at functions to ensure that they are well coordinated and regulated.
“Let us not demonize the security agencies. Once identified, errant security officers will always be handled appropriately. Let us all do our part in ensuring that, as we enjoy our rights, we remain mindful of the rights of others” Nabbanja added.
She said reviews of command, control, coordination, supervision, training and evaluation of training standards and standard operating procedures are also being undertaken by the Police in order to enhance good judgement on the part of the law enforcers.
The Deputy Attorney General, Hon. Jackson Kafuuzi, cited discrepancies in the Public Order Management Act and a Constitutional Court ruling on the unconstitutionality of section 8 of the Act.
“What we need to do as the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Internal Affairs is to advise that the practice direction be prepared and circulated to offices managing security. This will offer guidance as to how public association events are handled vis a vis the court ruling,” Kafuuzi said.