The Minister for Security, Gen Elly Tumwine has Wednesday presented a statement before Parliament on the state of security following last week’s events in Arua district which resulted in a death of one person and the arrest of over 30 people including 4 MPs.
Below is the full statement verbatim
Rt. Hon Speaker and Hon. Members,
1. By-elections have been held in a number of areas since the general elections of February 2016. The constituencies that have had these bye-elections include Upper Madi, Aru North, Kamuli Munipality, Jinja East, Moroto woman MP, Toroma, Kagoma, Kyadondo East, Iganga woman MP, Rukungiri Municipality, Ruhama county, Igara East, Iganga East, Kaboong women MP, Kibanda North, Kibale Woman MP, Rukiga women MP, Woman MP Pakwach, Kyotera, Namisindwa, Bunyangabu, Rubanda and Omoro. Most of these have been peaceful save for Bugiri Municipality, Jinja and Rukungiri that had incidents registered.
2. The Arua Municipality by-elections were occasioned by the assassination of Hon. Col. (Rtd) Ibrahim Abiriga on 8th June 2018 at Kawanda, Wakiso District. The reception of the body of Col. Ibrahim Abiriga was characterized by violence, instigated by some political players, as Hon members of parliament may recall. The violent manner of the late Hon. Col. Ibrahim Abiriga’s death and the outrage it caused was countrywide. Therefore, the situation in Arua was already delicate even before the by-election was conducted.
3. Following the burial of the late MP, three weeks were given for the conduct of campaigns by the candidates from 23rd July to 13th August 2018 for this particular by-election.
4. A schedule indicating designated locations and dates for the various candidates to canvass for support was published by the Electoral Commission (EC). Some players in the opposition opted to hold illegal processions, involving imported rowdy people who engaged in acts of hooliganism that disrupted campaigns of other candidates.
These same rowdy crowds threatened the electorate by words and actions, including physical assaults, destruction of property and rape because of their different political affiliations.To disenfranchise Ugandans by importing illegal voters from other areas is criminal because it overthrows the power of the people in the given area to elect their leaders.
5. The final day of campaigns for Arua Municipality was 13th August 2018. Candidates had distinct rally venues on that day. However, one of the candidate’s supporters ( MP elect for Arua Municipality), Hon. Kassiano Wadri Ezati were visibly disruptive of other candidates’ rallies and also engaged in violence. When their procession encountered the presidential motorcade enroute to the airstrip to drop the President, they pelted his motorcade with offensive objects, damaging the rear screen of one of his vehicles.
The procession also had a Caterpillar (registration number UAP 064R), wrapped in red ribbons similar to the attire of the attackers and opposition political activists at Transport Junction Road. (It is now impounded at Arua Central Police station).
6. At this point, security officers intervened to contain the situation and they indeed prevented it from further escalation by use of anti-riot gear. The situation was restored to normalcy. Sadly however, someone who has since been identified as Mr. Yasin Kawuma, a resident of Lusanja,Nangabo Sub County,Wakiso district, was established to have died in a Tundra vehicle registration number UAJ 416K which has since been impounded and taken to Arua Central Police Station.
7. This unfortunate loss is regrettable. Had it not been for the unruly and illegal causative conduct of some elements, it wouldn’t have happened.
8. Having delivered the President to his helicopter, the security detail went back to rescue the Wanainchi, which they generally did with a lot of restraint.
9. Scores of suspects were arrested including the following: MP elect for Arua Municipality, Kasiano Wadri and other Members of Parliament namely: Paul Mwiru, Gerald Karuhanga, Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi and former MP Michael Mabikke among others, in connection with the incidents mentioned above to help in the ongoing investigations. They have all since been arraigned before the Courts of Law. Notably, on the 16th Aug 2018, a number of them appeared before the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Gulu and were charged and remanded.
10. In a similar manner, Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine was arraigned before the General Court Martial (GCM) seating in Gulu, charged and remanded at Makindye Military Barracks in Kampala. He has since been accessed by members of his family, lawyers and personal Doctor, later on several Members of Parliament, including those from the Ad hoc Committee of Parliament and the Uganda Human Rights Commission.
Honorable Robert Kyagulanyi has also received appropriate medical attention under the care of the UPDF. He was also able to speak by phone to the Rt Hon Speaker of Parliament, who sought to have a conversation with him.
11. On the other hand, Hon Francis Zaake, is not in our custody and is reportedly admitted in Rubaga hospital according to the media, where he was taken by people other than government or the UPDF.
12. On Monday August 19th 2018, some parts of Kampala experienced riots in regard to the arrested Members of Parliament. Security intervened and these riots were contained. Over 100 suspects were arrested and investigations are ongoing.
Regrettably, in the process of, some security personnel misbehaved and action by the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) has since been taken. Equally, the police opened a General Enquiry File (GEF) to fully investigate complaints of abuse that could have happened during the operation to contain these riots.
13. Rt. Hon Speaker and Hon. Members, rules require us to account to this august House and it is in this regard that we offer this statement. However, in the same vein as political leaders and peoples’ representatives, we need to behave responsibly. The pursuit of elective political office is premised on the idea that people can be allowed a free and unfettered opportunity and atmosphere to elect leaders of their choice.
The trend of exporting trouble makers and goons to intimidate, beat up, threaten, and abuse those with opposed views in order to influence the outcome of elections as happened in Jinja, Bugiri and Rukungiri and now Arua, is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. In Arua, it was even taken a notch higher by attacking the motorcade of the President. It is the duty of our security forces to defend the country, its sovereignty, and territorial integrity. At the core of Sovereignty, is the Presidency and by necessary implication, the person of the President and his security and safety.
This reckless trend has no place in our democracy and cannot be tolerated. Whoever engages in this conduct and other electoral and public order malfeasance will be held to account according to the law. Nobody is above the law.
Every right has an implied duty and obligation. And this is the duty to enjoy one’s rights and freedoms to the extent that in doing so, you don’t offend the rights and freedoms of others.
14. I want to assure the Hon Members that, the due process of the law will be followed to the latter. Honorable members I want to take this opportunity to assure you and the country that our security forces will continue to discharge their duties of defending the country and its sovereignty firmly and effectively. In this respect, we all have a collective duty to preserve our dignity as a country, with its treasured way of life of a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous Uganda.
On the issues of issues of Mityana riots, a statement from the Inspector General of Police is here attached.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY
Hon. Gen. Elly Tumwine
MINISTER OF SECURITY