A new crop of police officers deployed at all entry points to Parliament has ruffled MPs’ feathers.
By Cyprian Musoke and Paul Kiwuuwa
A new crop of police officers deployed at all entry points to Parliament has ruffled MPs’ feathers, as they ask all of them including their guests to disembark from their cars, treating them to a thorough body search.
In a meeting with the Parliamentary Commission on Wednesday, MPs took exception to the lack of courtesy by most of the young officers who many a time do not differentiate between MPs, staff and constituents.
Alex Ndeezi (PWD) fired the first shot, when he complained that he has never been treated as such all the over 10 years he been in the House. He said that the practice in the Commonwealth, Parliament security is provided by the Sergeant- At -Arms.
Ever since the terror alerts, regular Police has been deployed in large numbers outside and at all entrances, checking all and sundry. It was heightened after two youth smuggled pigs into the precincts.
“They came with only military training to look for terrorists, so they treat us all like suspects. The old Police we had that was under the Sergeant at arms had mastered decorum while maintaining maximum security. Why did the Commission decide to do away with them and bring these who report to the Police chief,” he asked.
Present was the Parliament Sergeant- At-Aarms Ahmed Kagoye, Commissioners and Senior Parliament officials all of whom shook their heads in agreement, saying they have also not been spared the rigours.
Others asked the Commission to consider reverting to the old staff who worked under the sergeant at arms, since these take orders from elsewhere.
Jovia Kamateeka (Mitooma) said; “Sometimes you feel like you are entering a Police barracks going by the way we are treated at the entry. We appreciate the need for enhanced security but we too much inconvenienced. You approach from the Eastern side and you are ordered to use the Western gate this is inconveniencing.”
Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) said he came with guests from the World Bank who wanted to give Uganda funding for several projects in Karamoja, but they were tossed from gate to gate and only let in after he pleaded with them.
Stephen Tashobya (Kajara) pointed the Commission at the possibility of having a specialised unit like that of UWA to handle their security and train them in decorum.
Bakka Mugabi (Kamuli) said there was need for a joint meeting between the committee, Police directorate of security and the officer of the Sergeant at arms to thrash out the concerns.
“But meanwhile Police deployed at Parliament need to get their act together especially at this time when we are approaching 2016, our voters who come to see us should also be treated well,” Tashobya added.
Fox Odoi (West Budama) said the problem seems to me mentality of those deployed having no courtesy since when he goes to Parliament he is treated in a more humane way.
In response, Commissioner Rose Akol acknowledged the need to re-convene over the matter.
Rude Police officers rile MPs