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Judges order probe into police brutality, refund of age limit cash

Shs29m for voter consultation Justice Kenneth Kakuru observed that whereas each MP was given the money, almost all of them did not use it for the intended purpose.
“Those who attempted to do so simply held a few meetings and talked to the few they had selected.

This is not because they were prevented by the police from consulting; they simply did not bother to consult. I have stated above that this consultation fell short of the required constitutional standard,” he observed.

“It is disturbing to note that the money was given to Members of Parliament irrespective of the location of their constituencies.

A Member of Parliament for Kampala Central where the Parliamentary Building is located was given the same amount of money as a Member of Parliament from Kisoro, Arua or Kotido, hundreds of miles away,” Justice Kakuru added.

He further observed that MPs, who are ex-officio members, were also given the money although they had no constituencies to consult.

He ordered such category of MPs, who are mainly ministers, refund the taxpayer’s money.
“It appears to me clearly that the money was paid to Members of Parliament as a gratification.

That money must be accounted for by the Parliament’s accounting officer in respect of Members of Parliament with constituencies.

In respect of Members of Parliament without constituencies, the money must be refunded or recovered from them through the process established under the law,” the judge ordered.

Violence in Parliament after the army/police intervention 
Justice Kakuru ruled that the intervention of the army was unjustified and the police have no right to frog-match Members of Parliament, beat or humiliate them the way they routinely do.

“This is unacceptable and it must stop forthwith. The Attorney General must ensure that this is brought to an immediate end. Today a Member of Parliament is flogged. Tomorrow it shall be a minister, then God forbid, the Chief Justice. We would have gone through full circle.

I find that the action of Police and Army in forcefully evicting Members of Parliament from the Chambers and arresting them after manhandling them violated the Constitution…..Members of Parliament who were injured, manhandled or otherwise mistreated are at liberty to institute civil and or criminal proceedings in an appropriate court of law to seek redress,” he stated.

Police directive to block MPs’ consultative rallies
Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo and Justices Remmy Kasule and Kakuru observed that the Police had no powers to issue directives stopping MPs and, specifically those on Opposition side, from consulting Ugandans.

The court ordered that Assistant Inspector General of Police Asuman Mugenyi, who issued the directive, should be asked to account by relevant authorities.

At the height of the consultative meetings on the removal of presidential age limit last year, Mr Mugenyi on October 16, directed all district police commanders to stop MPs from moving from their constituencies to others to bolster their colleagues on consultations.

As a result, police violently broke up Opposition legislators consultative rallies with teargas and live bullets.

“This is a free and democratic society; it is not a Police state. The Public Order and Management Act must be implemented subject to the Constitution and in its implementation, the resultant effect must not violate or contravene Constitutional provisions.

The act of the Police in issuing the letter in question violated Articles 1, 2, 23, 29 and 39 of the Constitution,” Justice Kakuru ruled.

“The Police directive was issued in complete and total disregard of the Constitution.

The Police appear to have acted and continue to act as if this country has no Constitution. They assume, quite wrongly, that being a police officer puts one above the law. The Police have no power to curtail the liberty of Ugandans except as provided for under the Constitution,” he added

MPs consultation guidelines
Justice Remmy Kasule particularly recommended that Parliament puts in place rules or guidelines to provide for and facilitate public participation in issues of amendment of the Constitution that are not the subject of a referendum or approval by district councils, and also in others where such participation is necessary.

This was after majority of the justices observed in their respective decisions that there was no public participation in the age limit Bill enactment process.

Justice Kasule also recommended enactment of relevant laws to put in place a mechanism where MPs lawfully carrying out their duties and responsibilities as representatives of the people are not prevented and or interfered with like Mr Mugenyi did.

The justices also recommended that the Speaker of Parliament’s input should be sought before any such directives are taken and issued by any authority and this may go a long way in enhancing the very essential role of Parliament as the springboard through which all Ugandans participate in promoting constitutionalism.

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