Wednesday,September 23,2020 13:41 PM

Mbabazi responds to opposition concerns

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th April 2013 07:16 PM

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has denied allegations that Uganda supported the M23 rebels to overthrow the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mbabazi responds to opposition concerns

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has denied allegations that Uganda supported the M23 rebels to overthrow the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

By John Masaba

Issues discussed:

  • M23 rebels
  • Detention of opposition members
  • Safe houses
  • Kidnap of Ugandans
  • Preventive arrests
  • Museveni's control of Parliament
  • Corruption
  • Coup threats
  • National budgets

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has denied allegations that Uganda supported the M23 rebels to overthrow the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In response to issues raised by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Nandala Mafabi, on Thursday, Mbabazi spoke at length about the M23 rebel group, corruption, opposition arrests, safe houses and coup threats.

Mbabazi said allegations raised by the UN implicating Uganda in propping up the rebel group were false.  Here below is his full statement.


Madam Speaker, Hon Members

On the 7th of February 2013, Hon Nandala Mafabi, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament raised a number of issues he considered to be of public importance that required response from Government.

Hon Nandala Mafabi first referred to the older issues which he had raised on the 30th October 2012, but because of the heavy load on the Parliament programme we had not been scheduled to make the responses.

The old issue included the following:

•   The UN Group of Expert's Report alleging Uganda involvement in the M23 rebellion in DRC Killings of Moslem Clerics
•   The alleged arrest and detention of Opposition in Police and so called safe houses
•   Kidnap of Ugandans
•   Preventive arrests
•   Corruption which is on the increase

In addition, the Leader of Opposition also wanted Government to make responses to the following allegations:
a. Coup threats
b. Efforts by the President to control all the pillars of the State
c. Removal of the National Budget from Parliament
d. The Media as Partners in Development.

Madam Speaker, I wish to make a comprehensive response starting with the old issues as raised by Hon Mafabi.

1. Uganda's stand on the allegations made by the UN Group of Experts about Uganda's purported support of M23 Rebels
Uganda received information from our Embassy in New York in a letter dated 16 October 2012 alerting us of a leaked document from the UN Group of Experts on DRC which alleged that Uganda was supporting M23, the rebel group that is fighting the DRC Government,

In a Presidential Statement, the UN Security Council appeared to endorse the said report from the Group of Experts. The Presidential Statement even threatened to impose sanctions against Uganda for its alleged involvement in the DRC.

In the report, Uganda was accused of having provided support to M-23 in the form of direct troop reinforcement in DRC territory, weapon deliveries, technical assistance, joint planning, political advice and facilitation of external relations.

They also claimed that units of the Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces (UPDF) and the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) jointly supported M23 in a series of attacks in July, 2012 to take over the major towns of Rutshuru territory and the Forces Armee de la RDC (FARDC) base of Rumangabo and that both Governments had also co-operated to support the creation of expansion of M23's political branch and have consistently advocated on behalf of the rebels. That further, the sanctioned individuals continued to reside in or regularly travelled to Uganda.

Madam Speaker, we were disappointed not only by the content of the report but more so by the manner in which the so called UN Group of Experts conducted themselves during and after their research.

Uganda Government took a decision as indicated below and communicated it to the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary General by a letter delivered by a Government delegation led by Hon Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.

Prior to this Group of Experts' visit to Uganda they had indicated that they would be in Uganda for one day and indicated areas where they needed relevant information and, indeed, Government officials provided them the response to the questions they raised.

The Experts arrived on 17th September 2012 and departed on 18th September 2012, They held a meeting with Government, officials on 18th September 2012, At the end of the meeting they requested to meet with Chiefs of Intelligence, saying that they had sensitive matters to discuss with the Uganda Chiefs of Intelligence. It was not possible to arrange a meeting at such short notice because the Chiefs were engaged with other scheduled duties.

The Government of Uganda asked the team to extend their stay in order for them to hold the requested meeting but they were unable to do so.

They proceeded to Goma in the DRC. At Goma they invited the Uganda Chiefs to go and meet them there. It was not proper for the UN Group to summon Uganda's high ranking Security Officials into another State.

When these UN experts went back to New York we never heard from them again until we were alerted about the leaked report.

The Government of Uganda was, therefore, surprised that issues which were neither notified to Uganda prior to the visit nor discussed in the meeting of 18th September 2012 formed the subject of the report. It was even more surprising that the UN Security Council on receiving this report simply endorsed it in total and even pronounced itself on possible sanctions against Uganda without any reference to us.

Madam Speaker, Uganda categorically denies the allegations against her because they were totally false. For example, how could it be possible as is alleged in the report, that UPDF were inside DRC attacking the FARDC and at the same time a battalion of more than 600 FARDC soldiers ran into Uganda for safety on 7th July 2012?

They were received and the injured were given medical treatment. On 11th July 2012, 580 FARDC soldiers, 42 Congolese Policemen, 31 women and kids were transported using UPDF trucks in consultation with DRC Government from Kisoro to Kasindi border post where they were handed over by the late Brig Patrick Kankiriho and received by the FARDC Sector Commander Col Eric Ruhorimbere in the presence of DRC Ambassador to Uganda H.E. Charles Lokoto-Lolombe and UNHCR Representative to Uganda.

It should further be noted that at the height of the crisis when 9 members of M23 rebels fled to Uganda for safety, they were arrested in Kisoro and transported through Mbarara and held under custody in Kampala, pending further management, Both DRC Government and MONUSCO were informed accordingly.

It defeats logic to say that the DRC soldiers whom we were allegedly fighting alongside M23 would run to us for safety. Curiously, the Group of Experts did not even mention this significant event.

I must mention that Uganda's involvement in the DRC, M23 conflict was a mandate received from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

At the height of the conflict in Eastern DRC, H. E. Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, personally contacted H.E. Yoweri K. Museveni, and requested him to intervene and stop the fighting in Eastern DRC.

About the same time, H.E. Joseph Kabila, President of DRC, contacted President Museveni and explicitly requested him to intervene and facilitate dialogue between M23 and DRC Government.

In accordance with article 23(2) of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region, President Museveni convened four Extra-Ordinary Summits of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) on the security situation in Eastern DRC, three of which were hosted in Kampala using Uganda's own resources.

During the Summit of 8th September 2012, President Museveni was specifically mandated by the ICGLR Heads of State and Government, as the Chair, to facilitate dialogue between M23 and DRC Government and to coordinate regional efforts to find a durable solution to the security situation in Eastern DRC. This regional initiative was approved by the African Union Peace and Security Council on 19th September, 2012.

At the last two of the Summits, the UN Secretary General was represented by the Special Representative Ambassador Abu Moussa as well as Special Representative for MONUSCO, Ambassador Roger Meece at which the Secretary General's message of support were highly appreciated.

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on 27th September 2012 in New York, the Secretary General convened a High Level Mini-Summit on DRC and pledged full support to the regional efforts. The international community then also expressed strong support for ICGLR regional efforts.

During the same period, Mr Herve Landsous, the Undersecretary for Peacekeeping operations visited Uganda and pledged UN total support to the regional efforts spearheaded by Uganda, In this whole situation, two aspects are not acceptable:

1. The maligning of Uganda that it supports the M23 group and that our troops have secretly taken part in fighting the brother Congolese Army, including taking part, along with the Rwanda troops, in the capturing of the town of Rutshuru.

Yet, all serious actors should know, from the past experiences, that we say what we mean and mean what we say. Which troops of Uganda took part in those operations? Where is the evidence? Is it acceptable that an organ of the UN should falsely and carelessly accuse a member of the UN in this way using either amateurs or malicious actors dressed up as "experts"?

As already stated above, our recent involvement in the issues of DRC was at the express request of the UN Secretary General and that of President Kabila when they both, separately, rang President Museveni in July 2012, requesting him to intervene when the M23 rebels were threatening to attack Goma.

It was after those requests, that President Museveni started looking for those rebels because we did not even know the individuals involved prior to the requests from the UN Secretary General and President Kabila. It was not easy to convince M23 rebels to suspend operations. However, President Museveni was able to show them that political solutions are generally better than military solutions, where those political solutions are possible.

That is how the delegation of M23 was invited to come to Uganda on 29th July 2012. Since that time to the time of the UN Group of Experts' report, Uganda had hosted three summits on the situation in Congo i.e. on the 7th to 8th August, 7th to 8th September and 7th to 8th October 2012, using our own money.

In the September 2012 Extra-ordinary Summit, Uganda was requested to use the mode of indirect talks between the DRC Government and the M23 rebels. This is because President Museveni threatened to expel the delegation of M23 if the DRC Government did not want to have dialogue with, the group they had told Uganda to invite in the first place.

Since that time, indirect dialogue went on between the DRC Government and the M23 rebels, When the UN decided to send MONUC to DRC in 2000/01, Uganda offered Entebbe Airport free of charge for that operation - if only they (the UN) could restore peace to the brotherly people of DRC who share with us a common ancestry and heritage as do all the other neighbouring countries. Up to now the UN does not pay a single coin for using the facility at the Entebbe Airport.

Unfortunately, the UN has not pacified Eastern DRC as we had hoped. Eastern DRC is still a permanent base for genocidal forces from Rwanda and terrorist groups from Uganda such as the so called Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the so called Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Is falsely accusing Uganda the reward for these efforts?

This we cannot accept. If these were "experts" as they are held to be, why did they not put their questions to competent people in Uganda to answer them? We strongly demanded to see that evidence of complicity in supporting the M23 which some people claimed to have.

They failed to provide this evidence. What was done instead was to disband this group of Experts and a new group was formed. I will come to this, later.

I.    The UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted a Presidential Statement on 19th October 2012 which, among other things, stated as follows:

In paragraph 3: "...The Security Council expresses its intention to apply targeted sanctions against the leadership of the M23 and those acting in violation of the sanctions regime and the arms embargo and calls on all Member States to submit, as a matter of urgency, listing proposals to the 1533 committee ".

In paragraph 11: "... The Security Council expresses its full support to the United Nations Group of Experts of the 1533 committee and calls for enhanced cooperation between all States, particularly those in the region, and the Group of Experts, encourages further that all parties and all States ensure cooperation with the Group of Experts by individuals and entities within their jurisdiction or under their control and reiterates its demand that all parties and all States ensure the safety of its members, and unhindered and immediate access, in particular to persons, documents and sites the Group of Experts deems relevant to the execution of its mandate... "

In view of this, what then had become of our mediation role for which we were, initially, requested by President Kabila and the UN Secretary General? Why did the UNSC not seek the views of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) through its current Chairman, President Museveni?

If these African Regional bodies are to be given a fait accompli by the UN, why should they exist? Where the UN works with the Region, we get good results e.g. the struggle for the independence of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia; the democratization of South Africa, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan; etc.

Where the Region is ignored, failure is almost certain e.g. the American actions in Somalia; the endless Western involvement in the Congo from 1960 to date; the recent actions of the West in Libya, disregarding the proposals of the African Union (AU); etc.

Madam Speaker, the patriots of Uganda are Pan-Africanist by conviction. We do not seek to carry favour with any extra-African actors. Whatever little contribution we have made - in Southern Africa, in Sudan, in Rwanda, in Burundi, in Congo, in Somalia or fighting the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Central African Republic (CAR), etc., is out of Pan-African conviction, in the tradition of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Agostinho Neto and others.

After receiving this outlandish allegations from the so called Group of Experts and the subsequent endorsement by the UNSC, we categorically put it across to the UN through the Secretary General that since there are actors in the UN system who are not able to understand that there can be principled actors in Africa, and who think that all actors are looking for gold and other minerals like the imperialists who invaded Africa were doing we had decided, alter due consultations with our African brothers in the AU and ICGLR, to completely withdraw from these regional peace efforts i.e. in DRC, Somalia, etc. We stated to the UN that our decision to withdraw from these arrangements could only be stopped by two factors:

•   That the UN had to sort out the malignments against Uganda by bringing out the truth about Uganda's role in the current Regional efforts.

•   That our African brothers in the ICGLR, through the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), a group of real military experts as opposed to the amateurs from New York masquerading as "experts", should quickly pronounce themselves on these malignments against Uganda.

We put it to the UN that if our African brothers in the ICGLR would stand with us, it would put the Region in the position it was in, in respect of Burundi, where the Region had to impose its own sanctions against the Tutsi faction, which the UN completely refused to endorse because some of the international parasitic forces were in cahoots with the faction, its crimes against the Barundi people ever since 1965 notwithstanding.

In the end, the Region proved right and the UN, eventually, joined us. We had to reject endless lies by some Western actors who used to claim that Tanzania was backing the Hutu rebels and that the late Mwalimu Nyerere was pro-Hutu and anti- Tutsi.

In order for Uganda to continue contributing to Regional efforts, we need understanding, respect and fairness from the UN or the Region itself or both. We could not continue otherwise.

Much as some friends encouraged us to ignore the report and just go ahead with the mediation, we could not simply ignore the report because we are responsible for the people of Uganda whose sons and daughters we were committing in this venture.

Why should the children of the Ugandans die and we get malignment as a reward? Why should we invite retaliation by the Al-shabaab terrorists by standing with the people of Somalia, only to get maligriment by the UN system? Al-shabaab killed 76 Ugandans on the 11th July 2010 on account of our spearheading the Somalia operation.

Colleagues, in doing this we only wanted to remind the UN about the rights of the people of Uganda which are the reason we have been keenly spearheading the regional efforts to find a lasting solution to the insecurity in Eastern DRC. It is not in order for DRC, in partnership with MONUSCO, to maintain terrorists against Uganda by allowing ADF to freely use DRC territory to train, to receive arms and to launch assassination attacks on Ugandans.

Some time back, three Moslem Sheikhs were assassinated in Uganda- our suspicion is on ADF based in Eastern DRC. What did the UN do about this? Our view was to use dialogue to help Congo to resolve the issue of the M23 which is a recent complication in the endless DRC situation and, then, using the Neutral International Force and MONUSCO, get rid of terrorists from the DRC territory.

Some of the actors seem to have a different opinion. How long will the Congolese territory continue to be used as a base against neighbours?

After sending our letter to the UNSG, the UN Group of Experts has since been restructured with new members on the team and others dropped.

Since the ICGLR renewed its mandate that Uganda should continue with the facilitation of the Dialogue between the DRC Government and M23; and that the Chairman of ICGLR (President Museveni) should continue with the Diplomatic and Political engagements in order to find a comprehensive solution to the crisis in Eastern DRC, the following has been accomplished so far:

•   The parties adopted the Rules of Procedures and the Agenda for the Dialogue;

•   The parties concluded the first cluster on the Agenda i.e Review of March 23, 2009 Agreement between DRC Government and CNDP in accordance with the Rules of Procedure. In summary, both agreed that 15 provisions of the agreement were fully implemented, 8 provisions were partially implemented and 12 provisions were not implemented at all. At the end of the review, a Joint Report was initialed by the Leaders of Delegation and the Facilitator.

•   The Dialogue was adjourned on 18 March 2013 to allow for consultations in the view of the following:
a) The   signing of the  Addis  Ababa  Peace,  Security  and  Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region,

b) In fighting and division within the M23 partly as a result of one of their key figures, Bosco Ntaganda, surrendering to the ICC; and

c) UNSC was discussing the implementation of the Addis agreement including the intervention force. The Council subsequently adopted Resolution 2098 creating an intervention brigade under the direct command of the MONUSCO Force Commander to, among other things, neutralize the armed groups in DRC.

Furthermore the UN Secretary General designated former Irish Prime Minister Mary Robinson, as his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, with responsibility including to "lead a comprehensive political process that includes all relevant stakeholders to address the underlying root causes of the conflict." The dialogue resumed on 8 April 2013 with new leadership in M23.

It is our assumption that the necessary linkages will be established between all these frameworks (ICGLR, Addis, UN) to ensure that the objective of the political process, that is sustainable peace in DRC and the region, is achieved.
Meanwhile the new UN Group of Experts has started afresh its investigations in a more organized manner.

They have been here and officially met the Minister of Defence, they have met the Chiefs of Intelligence, and I also received them. We believe this time they will come up with an accurate report.

2. Hon Nandala Mafabi claimed that a 'number of prominent people who include among others Moslem clerics have been murdered in cold blood but Police has not arrested those perpetuating these crimes. What steps is Government taking to arrest the situation?'

It is true that a number of people have been murdered. These, however, have not been limited to only prominent people but also others from all walks of life. For instance we have received reports about ordinary citizens in Mukono, Rakai, Luwero and other places, including students who have been murdered either by gunshots or clobbered by iron bars.

The police has continued to investigate all the reported murders and suspects have been arrested and taken to court. A case in point is CPS Kampala CRB 2907/12 where one Hajji Abubaker Kiwewa was shot dead at Kvanja Prime Petroi Station. Investigations were done and one Balaba Luke of Kyanja was arrested and arraigned in court for murder. He is currently in Luzira on remand.

Another prominent case is that of Yunus Abubakari Madongo of Bugiri town who was shot dead when he was coming out of a mosque. Investigations were done vide Bugiri CRB 1531/2012. Four suspects were arrested. The file was submitted to the Director Public Prosecutions for advice on the charges to prefer.

The file was returned later advising that all the four should be charged for murder. Subsequently, the suspects were arraigned in court.

Besides, community policing activities as well as foot patrols have been beefed up in these areas and already the efforts have gained dividends. In the last few weeks fewer murders have been committed.

Another horrible incident took place in Rakai. On January 15, 2013 a family of 9 people was hacked to death, in Kyebe Village, Rakai District.

The Director of Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Directorate. Grace Akuilii and top Homicide Police officers held a meeting over the matter. So far one Nakyejwe has been arrested in connection with this murder and two others are still at large.

Since Police established, that the suspected cause of death was a disagreement between the murdered Pastor and some followers of his church over the funds received from donors, it will be easy to get all the culprits and bring them to book.

We have received reports of other incidents of murders that occur during the night. Police has since pitched camp in the troubled villages in Rakai and we expect a detailed, report over these murders.

3. It was also claimed that the arrest, and detention of opposition politicians in Police and safe houses without charges and sometimes with trumped-up charges such as murder, terrorism, simple robbery is on the increase. Can Government assure us of our safety to participate in the political activities in Uganda?'

It is true that the Uganda Police has arrested and detained wrong doers, law breakers and disrupters of social peace, It is also true that some Opposition, politicians have been found committing one or all of the above mentioned crimes. It is not only opposition politicians who are arrested and detained all people in Uganda, citizens and non citizens who come into conflict with the law or who are alleged to have committed offences are arrested and detained in compliance with the laws of the land.

The same standard applies to all. When an offence is alleged to have been committed, investigations are done and when the evidence assembled, is able to sustain a criminal charge the suspects are produced in court, if not, the suspects are released or given police bond as inquiries continue. It would be going against the laws of the land if opposition politicians who commit crime are to be treated differently on the basis that they are opposition politicians.

There is no politician who has been charged of any offence on trumped-up charges. The charges against Ingrid Turinawe and other opposition politicians are cases in point. The investigations were handled vide CT REF 1593/2011. The investigations gathered evidence of meetings held and the strategies devised to overthrow the Government of Uganda through unconstitutional means.

The Director of Public Prosecutions perused the file and established that the evidence assembled is weighty enough to sustain the charges. Otherwise the six suspects would not have been charged. The suspects appeared in court and were granted bail.

Another typical case is where three young men were arrested in Kawempe vide CRB 3435/2012. The evidence gathered only implicated two of the suspects. The two were charged with the offence of terrorism having been found in possession of among others, bomb making materials.

4. The Leader of Opposition further alleged that 'some Ugandans are being kidnapped on daily basis and relatives are not sure of their whereabouts. Can Government assure Ugandans that we are not going back to the panda gari days?

Kidnap is the forceful or tactful removal of a person from his/her environs with a purpose of depriving the person his/her liberty to freely move and associate. Most kidnaps are associated with blackmail, revenge, sacrifice etc.

It is true that kidnap cases have occurred and most have been reported, but it is outrageous for the leader of the Opposition to say that these kidnaps are made on a daily basis.

There are few kidnap cases that have been reported to Police. Investigations into kidnap cases are different from other common crimes. The life of the victims is on a thread therefore the investigations cannot be publicly shared because the leads that Police follow must be handled with utmost caution.

However, the Police appeals to anyone who has information on any person that has been kidnapped to forward the same for investigations. 'Panda gari' used to be state inspired, clandestine arrests and detention. The kidnap we are addressing is done by non state actors, organisations or individuals with their own private motives.

Therefore, for the Leader of Opposition to refer to these kidnaps as a slide back to panda gari days is either talking with lack of information on what actually "panda gari" was or he intentionally intends to malign Government by linking it to private criminal acts of individuals.

5. It was further alleged that 'Police continues to use preventive arrests as a way of "curtailing political opposition activities Prominent among those include that of Dr, Kizza Besigye, Lord Mayor Lukwago Ellas, Hon. Semujju Nganda ... Can we get assurance that we are free to carry out political activities in Uganda?'

The Police have not curtailed any political opposition activity. The circumstances under which, the Police used preventive arrest are justified and in compliance with the iaw. The circumstances are clearly spelt out in the Police Act and the Criminal Procedure Code.

The purpose for instance has been to, among others: prevent the causing of unlawful destruction on a highway or commission of an offence against public decency in a public place (s,5(24) of the Police Act) and for the purpose of preventing the commission of any cognizable offence (see the Criminal Procedure Code).

6. The IGP was invited by the Committee on human rights hut he refused to attend. Can Government tell us whether he is above the law?

First of all, there is no one who is above the law. The only invitation the IGP received to appear before the Committee on Human Rights was of October 2012. It was the office of the IGP which was invited not the person. Indeed the IGP attended since the Deputy Inspector General of Police appeared before the Committee with a big delegation of Directors and Heads of Department.

However the IGP (Lt Gen Kale Kayihura) was not able to appear in person because he received an urgent summon requiring his presence at State House for the swearing-in of newly appointed Ministers. Indeed, in readiness to attend, the IGP had already prepared the requisite report to be presented to the Committee. When he could not attend at the last minute, the report was handed over to the DIGP who represented him at the meeting.

When the meeting opened, the DIGP conveyed the apologies of Lt Gen Kale Kayihura and explained the circumstances that regrettably rendered him unable to attend. In fact the DIGP presented the letter of invitation to the swearing in ceremony as evidence of Lt Gen.Kale Kayihura's presence at another official function.

7. The Minister of Internal Affairs promised on 3rd October 2012 to report to Parliament within 3 weeks about the killings but to date no response has been made.

In the period around September 2012 a number of gruesome murders nicknamed "Kinywamusaayi" or vampire like acts took place in the areas of Wakiso, Busunju, Mityana, Mpigi, Nakaseke, Kyankwanzi, Nansana, Kakiri, Ntwetwe to mention but a few. The gruesome nature of the murders alarmed the residents since something like this had never happened before.

As  soon as the pattern of the new murders was noticed the Inspector General of Police sent a team of Police officers who visited the areas affected, met the local leaders and gathered the necessary intelligence on the matter. Deployment and patrols were beefed up in the area and confidence was restored. A number of suspects were arrested and inquiries continue.

Community policing in the area was enhanced and the situation is progressively normalizing. This type of killings is different from other murders cases for instance the ones reported in Rakai. It was characterised by hacking the victim and blood drained and taken away without any theft committed to the victim or in the houses where the murder was exercised. This nature of killing has since stopped.

8. The Minister of internal Affairs further promised to give response regarding the inhuman handling of Ms Ingrid. Turinawe but to date nothing has been done. The following is the response to the above.

On the 20th of April 2012 Ms Turinawe Ingrid was arrested by Police in Nansana town. After the incident, the manner in which she was arrested was a subject of debate by this house.

Rt. Hon Speaker and Hon Members, you may recall that the Leader of Government Business and Prime Minister of Uganda made a formal apology regarding the manner of the arrest.

When the matter was raised in this House, the information available was still scanty and the Government promised to investigate the matter and report back to Parliament before the 18th of May 2012.

Rt Hon Speaker, I am glad to report that formal inquiries into the matter were conducted by the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of the Uganda Police.

Rt Hon Speaker and Hon Members, you will recall that one of the hot issues raised on this floor was that it was a male Police officer who effected the arrest and not a female officer. This was after the Leader of Government business mentioned that the information he had received from the Inspector General of Police was that the officer who arrested Ingrid was a female Police officer.

This was an easy matter to prove and indeed I am reporting that the officer who effected the arrest was/is a female officer. This revelation however is not intended to justify the manner in which the arrest was conducted but to respond to the query concerning the gender of the arresting officer.

I need to emphasize that the Uganda Police has clearly laid down procedures that govern the manner of effecting arrests. One of the requirements is that a female suspect should be arrested by a female Police officer, it is for this reason that Ingrid was arrested by a female officer.

Recall that Parliament very much desired to know the name of the officer who effected the arrest. While the relevance of knowing the name is not clear (other than giving a clue to the gender), the same can be given if it is still required. The name of the officer is Woman PC Irene Alinda.

PC Alinda is very remorseful, and regrets what she did. However, she still acted unprofessionally, and out of tune with the standards of the Uganda Police in carrying out arrests or using force. Her action was unnecessary, improper, and unacceptable, and she must be held to account. For that we are deeply sorry to Ingrid Turinawe, her family, her friends, and indeed, all the womenfolk, and the country at large.

In line with the recommendations of the investigation team, the IGP has ordered that W/PC Alinda Irene be tried before the Police Headquarters Disciplinary Court on charges of discreditable conduct and of behaving in a cruel, Disgraceful and indecent manner, under the Police Act (Code of conduct).

Rt Hon Speaker, having said the above, I wish to make some comments on the incident which led to the confrontation between Ingrid Turinawe and the Police, indeed, which is what led to the incident under investigation.

Some people, political leaders included, seem to think that they are not obliged to follow lawful instructions of a police officer. In fact, some have tended to act and behave as if they are above the law, and that is where the problem is.

From the findings of the inquiry on this occasion, Ms Ingrid Turinawe's driver obeyed the instructions of the Police, and refused Ingrid's insistence that he ignores the Police. In fact, she took over the wheel of the vehicle precisely because her driver refused to defy the Police. Had she cooperated with the Police, as other political leaders did during the same occasion, the question of her arrest and the subsequent incident in question would not have arisen.

Indeed, Ingrid Turinawe defied the direction of a police officer who was managing traffic. Not only did she refuse to follow his instructions, she actually continued to drive her vehicle into him. (This is very clear on video footage which by the way NTV conveniently left out.) Here Ms Turinawe drove into one of the police officers repeatedly, In fact, this was a serious assault and it was therefore appropriate that she be arrested.

It should be noted that the commander in charge, on the scene, ordered four female officers to make up the arrest team and despite being correctly informed that she was being placed under arrest, Ms Turinawe again defied police and resisted to leave the vehicle. Indeed she struggled with them, grabbing the steering wheel and hitting, and biting the officers.

Therefore, while acknowledging that W/PC Alinda Irene acted unprofessionally, we must not lose sight of the genesis and background of the incident, especially the circumstances surrounding the incident, and who had primary responsibility for its occurrence, Ingrid Turinawe sought to attend an illegal assembly organized by an Unlawful Society.

When this assembly failed to take place she refused to comply with the lawful instructions of a police officer performing traffic management duties. She used a motor vehicle to physically strike a police officer repeatedly. When informed that she was to be detained she resisted arrest. She hit and bit police officers (This is all clear on the video footage.)

These are plain facts. Indeed, while they, absolutely, do not excuse the misconduct of one police officer, these facts are none the less relevant and material.

While we hold the Police to high moral, and professional standards, which we should, at the same time, should we not expect our political leaders to hold themselves to equally, or even higher standards?  Ms Turinawe is an aspiring law maker! It is expected that she should desist from her usual practice of being a law-breaker.

Finally, Rt Hon Speaker and hon. members, I wish to assure the country that the Uganda Police Force aspires to maintain the very highest professional, ethical and behavioural standards, and to respect, uphold rights of individuals and groups.

The Police continue to protect and serve all in Uganda, including, those who criticize, insult, defy and assault them.
It is obvious that police officers, in the course of carrying out their duty of protecting life and property, ensuring law and order, and preventing and detecting crime, are usually compelled to deal with people who do not respect the law.

However, because of their training they always aspire to exercise professional restraint and act within the standard operating procedures in managing situations.  The following is the response to the fresh queries raised by Hon Mafabi:

a)   Hon Nandala Mafabi stated that of recent H.E the President, the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Forces have been quoted by the Media issuing coup threats to Parliament, would appear that the President and his Executive are planning to execute a palace coup against Parliament like it happened in Russia under President Yeltsin, " he said.

Rt Hon Speaker, I would like to calm down the minds of all those who were upset by the misrepresentations of the media.

First of all I would like to assure Hon Mafabi that the situation which led to the Palace Coup in Russia in 1993 when President Yeltsin wrestled with the Supreme Soviet of Russia and the Congress of People's Deputies for control over Government, such a situation cannot arise in Uganda.

I would like to support Hon Mafabi when he says that "we the people are empowered by the first article of our Constitution and we can never allow such baseless rumours to come to pass." Yes those were baseless rumours as he rightly states. I would like to put the record clear that when we were in Kyankwanzi during the NRM retreat, the President said that some people have been compromised by the behaviour and utterances of some Honourable Members in Parliament.

The President said that if we do not change our behaviour of irresponsible political talk and acts, good people who do not want to associate themselves with such bad behaviour will shun politics.

When decent people shun politics, this will lead to bad people taking over politics. If bad people seize control of politics this will invite the army to come back into active politics.

Rt Hon Speaker, our history is that the army had been a political army, but by our reform, we have professionalized the army and put it under civilian Government. We have no reason to threaten the Parliament because the army is well represented in the same Parliament and the present situation does not warrant any Political threat that could invite the army to seize Government. I would therefore like to assure the Country that the army, the Uganda People's Defence Forces will continue with the constitutional mandate assigned to it under Article 209 of the Constitution.

b) On separation of powers the Leader of Opposition stated "It is very wrong for the Executive to gag Members of Parliament on how they discuss national issues in the House. Members of Parliament are voted by the people of Uganda not the Executive... The Executive should do their work and let the other arms of the state do their work as spelt out in the Constitution ".

This utterance of the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament was made after some Honourable members of Parliament protested the forging of their signatures and others sought to withdraw their signatures which had been unduly obtained in the recent fruitless efforts to recall Parliament from recess.

Rt Hon Speaker, the issue of separation of powers between the three arms of the state is a political doctrine which must be upheld by all the politically sober states.

I will labour to discuss the theory of this doctrine in order that we all come to terms when referring to this principle.
The relationship between the three organs of Government, on the one hand and that between the organs and citizens, on the other hand, are guided by two formulae of good governance and freedom, namely; doctrine of separating powers and rule of law.

Historically, the power and the exercise of power was fused in a single individual or a single institution- an absolute monarchy, which exercised all the powers of Government. Following the movement from absolutism to controlled Government, the first institution which was attacked was the fusion of power in a single institution.

Philosophers like Montesquieu in his book, "The Spirit of laws, 1748" argued that a single biggest threat to the individual was the tyranny of the Government; that to protect the individual there was need to separate these powers of Government and how they are exercised.

In its strictest sense, the doctrine of separating powers means that three organs of Government i.e. the legislature, executive and judiciary should be kept in separate compartments. This separation is to be recognized and maintained in three ways;

Firstly, persons or agencies belonging to one organ should not hold posts in one or two of the remaining organs, A member of the executive should not be at the same time a member of the legislature or the judiciary and vice versa.

Secondly, the doctrine requires that no organ should exercise the functions of one or both of the remaining two organs.

Thirdly, the independence: No one organ of Government by itself should have the power to control one or the remaining two organs. The executive alone, for instance should not be in position to control the legislature or the judiciary and vice versa, Mutatis mutandis.

Generally speaking, it may be argued that there is hardly any constitution in the world which embraces the doctrine as so stated above in its absolute terms because to do so would result in stalemate in Government and make public administration rigid and unworkable and therefore undesirable.

To clearly appreciate this doctrine, one needs to look at the period when it was expanded. As already noted, the doctrine is closely associated with the name of French Philosopher, Montesquieu who lived in the 18th C which is historically regarded as the age of absolute monarchism in Europe. 

The French King Louis XIV, who reigned in the contemporary period in which Montesquieu lived and wrote his works, is said to have been the most despotic King of them all. Upon Montesquieu visit to England, he was struck by the relative freedom the individuals enjoyed in that country.

He is said to have perceived, erroneously perhaps, that the reason the English people enjoyed liberty was because the powers of Government were exercised by different organs and officials of Government, with each set able to check and stop the excesses of the other organs. He believed that the accumulation of the three organs of Government in the same hands results in tyranny.

Accordingly, he concluded that in order to preserve political and social liberty, it was essential for the constitution to ensure that the executive, legislature and judiciary were independent and act independently of each other. However it's worth noting that, Montesquieu or those who interpreted his ideas were mistaken about the British constitution.

Neither in theory nor in practice, does the British constitution reflect the rules of the doctrine of separation of powers as above stated. Consequently, the doctrine as a whole has been attacked for a number of reasons;

One, some people have argued that because the legislature represents the people it should have power to influence and even change executive policies that affect the people who are in their constituencies.

Secondly, the principle that courts would have no business intervening and correcting the actions of the legislature or the executive is refuted. It's argued that it's necessary at times to allow for judicial intervention-where the other two act in excess.

Thirdly, other scholars have argued that the doctrine is not workable- because members of the executive need to be involved in the legislative process to be able to ascertain the degree at which the legislature is conforming to the overall objectives of the Government.

Other scholars have gone ahead to argue that to deprive the executive of legislative powers is irrelevant especially where you are faced with situations of emergency or disaster, In such situations for the executive to be able to do things swiftly, it's necessary for them to make laws and regulations to curb the respective situations.

It has also been argued that the judiciary should have the power to make law especially in instances where the law is vague and unclear or where it infringes on people's fundamental rights. Of course by making decisions the judges are making law indirectly.

Rt Hon Speaker, all the above are modifications intended to make the doctrine workable other than leaving it in its strictest raw form which the Leader of Opposition in Parliament wants to propose.

This is a doctrine that has required modification to suit the modern Government and its realities. Consequently, the doctrine as envisioned by Montesquieu does not exist anywhere in the world because there is no Government that observes the strict separation of powers as the original doctrine.

The focus has come much more on the spirit of separation of powers. This is because Montesquieu main concern was tyranny of the absolute monarchy which is dictatorship. This is a doctrine that was designed as an anti-dictatorial mechanism.

Apparently, it's more accurate to state that what he had in mind was a system of checks and balances between the three organs of Government rather than the pure doctrine, so that none of the organs would usurp the powers and authority assigned to the others and that, while accepting the sphere of influence of each organ, its operation should be with the consent and cooperation of the other two organs.

There here must be consultations all around. If the executive wishes to adopt a policy it must first publish it so that it is in the open and subject to comment and debate. The policy must be considered, discussed and passed into law by the legislature.

Any individual aggrieved by the policy either as proposed by the executive or as passed by the legislature should have access to courts for the purpose of determining the validity, legitimacy and constitutionality of the policy or laws passed to influence it.

We can still speak of separation of powers with regard to the process of determining the public policy to be adopted. In considering the policy to be proposed, the executive should not be unnecessarily hampered by interferences from the legislature or the judiciary.

Rt Hon Speaker, when the members of Parliament arranged to petition the Speaker for a special sitting of Parliament, "the Executive was aware that the matter that the Members were pursuing, i.e discussing the cause of death of a deceased MP, was not in the ambit of Parliament.

The Executive had already ascertained that some Members were merely pursuing their political agenda. The Executive had a right to comment on this kind of fuss. This matter is already in Court and those who care to follow the proceedings of Court can be witness that indeed some Honourable Members were fussing with an issue that needed to be handled by more competent organs.

Experience has shown that functions of Government are best performed in a climate of constitution and cooperation between the organs of Government. This experience has been accumulated over many years.

There Is also the realization that It is not always easy to identify and distinguish powers which are purely judicial, administrative or executive and even if this were possible, whether it is desirable that they should be exercised by one organ rather than the others.

Under quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial functions, the executive copes with great deal of work which would be impossible or incomplete if we were to adhere strictly to the rules of the doctrine of separation of powers. Certain public activities may need the framing of laws involving knowledge of technical matters and therefore rail for the expertise of an administrator rather than a legislator.

Similarly, sometimes rules and regulations may require judicial experience to make even if they are strictly legislative.
A critical look at the provisions of the 1995 constitution suggests that in each of the above three arms of the state, we find an element of the powers of its sister institution. This is not by accident but was intended by the framers of the constitution and the constituent Assembly.

The Judiciary in certain instances performs a quasi-legislative function while many times, the legislature sits as a judicial body. For instance, in the various adhoc and permanent committees the legislature operates like a court, they gather evidence, analyze evidence, determine the facts and pass judgment (recommendations).

Rt Hon Speaker, could we call such arrangement usurping of the Judicial power by the Legislature?

Similarly, the executive has legislative powers. In every Act you find ministerial powers of legislation by way of statutory instruments, ordinances, orders or otherwise as ordained by Art. 79(2).

This is what Is collectively referred to as a system of checks and balances, which In my view is a modern modification of the doctrine of separation of powers.

Finally, under this arrangement of both self and external regulation, the courts have a fundamental role to play-courts are the ultimate check on the excessive abuse of powers by the other organs. This means that the decision of courts must be respected by the other organs of Government.

Art.98 of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 creates a central authority of Government formed on the Executive President as the fountain of Honour. It is provided for that the President shall be Head of State, Head of Government and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

The Executive power of Uganda is invested in the President and he takes presidency over all persons in Uganda. He is not-liable to any proceedings whatsoever in any court and is exempt from direct personal taxation. All these attributes, privileges and immunity are necessary for an effective coordination of Government powers by the President.

According to Art.99 (5) of the constitution, the President may exercise the Executive powers indirectly through officers or bodies subordinate to him. These include; Cabinet Ministers, Public officers, Police, Army and any person or authority whose duty involves the exercise of Executive powers.

In carrying out its mandate, the Executive carries out an oversight role over other organs of the state in the following ways;

First, Presidential Assets to Bills of Parliament, According to Art,91 (1). Accordingly, no bill can become a law until assented by the President within a period of 30 days after being so sent.

The rationale for such a provision was to make sure that the executive ensures that its legislative agenda, developmental programmes and its policies or governance have been adequately implemented.

Second, is the Prerogative of Mercy/ Clemency under Art. 121 (4) of the constitution. This is one of the mechanisms of balance allowing the executive to exercise some degree of oversight over the Judiciary and respond to non- judicial sentiments.   

Thirdly, the President has a role to play in the removal of Judicial officers. Article 144(3) provides that the President shall remove a judicial officer if the question of his/her removal has been referred to a tribunal appointed by the President that he/she ought to be removed from office on any ground described in clause (2) of this Article.

All these and others are a clear manifestation that there is no absolute separation of powers between the organs; but a system of checks and balances. However it must be noted that the Executive has the power of not only over the Instruments of coercion but also the superintendence of the consolidated fund and any other public money.

This position always puts the executive in a strong position while bargaining or negotiating with the other arms of the state, thus tilting the balance against the latter.

In conclusion on this issue, Rt Hon Speaker, it must be observed that the doctrine of separation of powers and its modification are a means of democratic governance.

Therefore separation of powers came about initially as a convenient device for division of labour. The idea that separation also discouraged oppression and tyranny came as a by-product of the necessity to diffuse the powers of Government for efficiency and effectiveness.

Nowadays however, the doctrine has come to be accepted and seen as a means of fostering democracy, justice and liberty in the land. It should therefore be employed practically but not theoretically as Hon Mafabi wants us to believe.

d) The Leader of Opposition in Parliament also expressed fear that the NRM Parliamentary Caucus has taken over the work of Budgeting. He said "The work of appropriation or sharing out the National cake is the work of a whole Parliament. No Party caucus has such Power ".

Rt Hon Speaker, I would like to inform Hon Mafabi and all those who share his sentiments that the ruling Party should have no hand in the formulation of the National Budget, that Uganda adopted a Multi-Party dispensation under the 1995 Constitution. This means that at one point only one legitimate political party will be in governance.

Since 1996, every five years, different political parties have been coming out to solicit for votes from the people to enable these parties to come to power.

People have been electing parties of their choice depending on the conviction they receive from the way these parties have been representing themselves.

In 2011 the National Resistance Movement together with several other parties each presented their Manifesto to the people in which they pledged to deliver service to the people.

The NRM Manifesto consisted of five Chapters as follows:
•    Democracy and Good Governance
«    The Economy
•    Physical infrastructure
•    Human Resource Development
•    Regional Integration and International Relations

In the introduction of this Manifesto the Chairman of NRM said to the people, among other things that ... "NRM is seeking a new mandate based on the strength of its record of performance to consolidate security, continued stability and to enhance service delivery and create jobs"

The last paragraph in this Manifesto states "...Throughout this Manifesto, NRM renews its determination to implement the promises that have been made to the people as stated in the .Manifesto - the covenant between NRM and the people of Uganda, and make allocations as appropriate.

I would like to bring it to the attention of Hon Mafabi that sharing the budget process is not something unheard of. Hon Mafabi is aware that in Uganda we have what we call the Partnership General Budget Support (PGBS). This began in Uganda in 1998 with the funding of the Poverty Action Fund.

Since that time, Government of Uganda with the Development Partners share in the budget planning and allocation in the key sectors. Does that mean that the Development Partners have removed the budgeting process from Parliament?

I would like to assure this house that what the NRM budget Caucus Is doing is a legitimate part of the budget process which intends to put emphasis in the priority areas for service delivery.

e)  The Leader of Opposition in Parliament has also made several remarks on the relationship between Government and the Media. He said:

•   That some sections of the state and Government gag the media and stop them from doing their work;
•   That   persons   thought   to   be   holding   strong   dissenting   views   on Government are not allowed any space or airtime in the media.
•   That some media houses are facing closure from Government if they do not stop publishing critical material to the powers that be.

Rt Hon Speaker, the allegations against Government were based on rather uninformed parameters and a lack of realistic appreciation of Government-media relations and operations in Uganda today. However, in order to understand the issues raised and Government's commitment to developing the media industry, it is important to highlight briefly, the history of the media in Uganda.

The Media in Uganda

•   By 1990 the Media in Uganda was largely state owned.   Radio Uganda and Uganda Television were the sole 'local' broadcasters since the 1960s. 
•   The New Vision a Government newspaper was the main daily/broadsheet newspaper.
•   The Public Media served a mainly informative role to rally citizens for National programs.

By 1993, the Media sector was liberalized. Liberalization by Government attracted heavy investment in the media with multiple private actors, particularly in print and broadcasting. Today, we have 244 operational radio stations and 44 television stations in Uganda.

There are 67 publications including newspapers and magazines operating in print and some on-line. Social media is now gaining popularity. Proliferation necessitated requisite Regulation.

The Press and Journalism Statute, 1995 established the Media Council which regulates the print media while the electronic media Act regulates the electronic media/broadcasters. The statute spells out, among others a code of Ethics for journalists, disciplinary Committee to mediate between Journalists and the State; and between Journalists and the Public.

The Electronic Media Act provides for a Broadcasting Council to regulate broadcast media i.e. Radio and TV; it spells out modalities for acquiring a broadcasting License and Frequency.

It highlights a code of conduct for broadcasters -those from E. Africa are bound by this code; the Act also spells out sanctions for errant broadcasters. Parliament has recently merged the Electronic and Broadcasting Acts. In response to the allegations:

"That some sections of the State and Government gag the media and stop them from doing their work". The NRM Government has good intentions towards the media. For the last 27 years, this Government proved and demonstrated the close working relationship with the media.

The media industry in Uganda enjoys far much unprecedented freedom today than at any time in its history and the Uganda media industry is the most free not only in the region but in Africa.

Throughout history, Journalists have played an important role in society. They are a vehicle to information delivery through the print and electronic media. However, the quality and manner in which they disseminate the information determines the quality of the society they serve. They may either destroy or develop the society.

It is the responsibility of the elected Government to enforce the law where the media is over-stepping its mark, not necessarily on the Government, but the prevailing peace and stability.

Rather than inform, educate and entertain the public, some media in Uganda is characterized by engaging in sensational reporting, lack of investigative journalism, political compromises and blackmail coupled with corruption - thus disseminating false information which may be harmful, destabilizing, inciting, conflicting and so on; lack of Professionalism - one finds disco jokeys (DJ), comedians, etc masquerading as journalists and these are the majority on FM stations countrywide.

When the Government attempts to enforce the law as per the constitution with regard to the media, cries of gagging the media come up. It is unfortunate that our dear friends in the Opposition only look at one side, the media, insensitive to the larger masses who may be affected by the negative intentions of some media houses. Some reporters or quasi journalists in media houses have been hired to fight personal wars of different people.

Therefore, whereas the media is credible in many ways and with good intentions, it is, sometimes, their methods of work which raise eyebrows. Government does not gag the media.

On the allegations that persons thought to be holding strong dissenting views on Government are not allowed any space or airtime in the media.

Rt Hon Speaker, the relationship between Government and the media still goes far and beyond allegations by members of the Opposition,

To date, we have more media houses opening up in both electronic and print, However, it should be noted that Uganda is one of the few Countries in Africa where the media is flooded with not well qualified practitioners.

Government has often been flexible in enforcing certain standards just because the media is still young. But now it has come of age and should make every effort to comply with the law as laid down to avoid unnecessary conflicts which are many times taken advantage of by selfish politicians who exploit the media to disseminate harmful information.

Some media houses have specialized in disseminating information which Government and the larger public consider inciteful and harmful to the prevailing peaceful conditions. Government has not directed any media house not to grant airtime to any one holding dissenting views on Government.

Rather, in some instances, where the person to be hosted or otherwise, is judged or suspected that his/her messages may flout terms and conditions of the media license granted, then it is up to the particular media house management to take appropriate action. Where the political temperature is considered high, then  Government, as mandated has to maintain law and order.

The media should also avoid putting selfish commercial interests ahead of good quality journalism that develops this country. Money is admittedly hard to resist but national interests should be at the back of every media practitioner's mind. The media should avoid hosting guests whose business is to ferment chaos in the name of practicing free speech.

On allegations that some media houses are facing closure from Government if they do not stop publishing critical material to the powers that be.

Rt Hon Speaker, unless a media house contravenes its operating conditions thus violating the constitution, I wish to state it categorically, that Government has not nor does it have intentions of closing down any media house critical to the powers that be" as the Leader of the Opposition state it. Several so-called anti-Government media houses are operational today - Monitor Publications, KFM, CBS, Suubi FM etc.

It is true that the media should enjoy freedom, but this freedom must be enjoyed within the context of the broader provisions of Universal Human Rights. It is not right for any one including the Media, to enjoy rights well beyond that is permissible by law. It is not in order for some people to mislead the public to think human rights have no limit.

As a Government in charge of this country, we emphasize constitutionalism and if there need for calling some media houses and persons to order, Government will do it within the provisions of the law.

Therefore the notion that to be a journalist one must be on collusion course with the Government of the day is misplaced. There are some media houses that deem themselves as a de facto opposition. The media industry should adjust its mind set to practice good journalism to be able to play its role as partner in development.

There have been isolated instances where the law enforcers have conflicted with journalists. This has happened in times of heated exchanges between the law enforcers and law breakers like rioters. This is one instance where the Journalists are called upon to be more logical than following instinct to capture pictures and stories.

I understand that one of the dicta commonly preached in Journalism schools is that "No story is worth your life" Journalists and Media personnel should desist from being overzealous and in the end blame the custodians of law and order.

In settling a riot, teargas will not discriminate or exempt a Journalist, and a rubber bullet will not make corners to avoid a journalist, we would not want the gains made by the media over these years to be reversed. We equally must resist an anarchic Media.

The Uganda Government appreciates the media as vital partners in Nation building through their informative, educative and entertainment roles but emphasizes responsible journalism.

We also need an enabling and synchronized regulatory framework to build a responsible media industry that flourishes and serves Uganda and beyond.

Mbabazi responds to opposition concerns

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