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Lawyers want parliament to investigate political violence

By Lawrence Mulondo

Added 22nd November 2020 07:55 PM

Early this week a number of people were shot dead as security officers were disbanding people who were rioting over the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu.

Lawyers want parliament to investigate political violence

L-R) Fredrick Ssemwanga the secretary general of Uganda Catholic Lawyers Society (UCLS) addressing journalists as John Osapiri the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity (UCLF) and Arthur Nsereko of Network of Public Interest Lawyers (NETPIL) look on. This was during a press conference on violence in electoral processes at Makerere University Guest house Kampala on November 21, 2020. (Photos by Lawrence Mulondo)

Early this week a number of people were shot dead as security officers were disbanding people who were rioting over the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu.

HUMAN RIGHTS| POLITICS| VIOLENCE

Lawyers under different associations have called on Parliament's Human Rights Committee to investigate the incidents in which over 30  people were shot dead and over 80 sustaining injuries.

Early this week a number of people were shot dead as security officers were disbanding people who were rioting over the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu.

The lawyers belong to Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity (UCLF), Uganda Catholic Lawyers Society (UCLS), Muslim Center for Law and Justice (MCJL), Uganda Muslim Lawyers Association (UMLA) and Network of Public Interest Lawyers (NETPIL).

In a statement that was read by John Osapiri the Chief Executive Officer of UCLF, the lawyers demanded  the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga to convene an emergency sitting to debate and resolve the issue of electoral processes and human rights violation amidst COVID-19.

"We demand address to parliament by the chairperson Electoral Commission and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to clarify on whether a free and fair election is still possible in the present circumstance," the lawyers wrote.

The team also asked the chairperson, Electoral Commission Justice Simon Byabakama to recall candidates for a candid discussion on the best way of ensuring a free, fair and health-risk-free election.

 

[image_library_tag 784bf8d5-9e71-48e2-aaa3-33d7a3cb4a83 720x482 height="482" width="720" alt=" Umar Nyanzi the president of Muslim Center for Law and Justice (MCJL) addressing the press on violence in electoral processes at Makerere University Guest house, Kampala " ]
Umar Nyanzi the president of Muslim Center for Law and Justice (MCJL) addressing the press on violence in electoral processes at Makerere University Guest House, Kampala



Lawyers also asked the EC to take charge and provide a levelled ground for all political actors and ensure that electoral rules must be fair and applied to all.

They also called on the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) Gen David Muhoozi and the Inspector General Uganda Police Force Martin Okoth Ochora to prevail over serving officers to desist from acts of torture, shooting and inhuman treatment of the people and politicians' while enforcing arrests or controlling demonstrations.

They also called on the public to desist from acts of provocation of violence like stoning of police officers or armed soldiers.

The lawyers condemned violent acts against civilians and security officers adding that it is illegal for one to take one's life recklessly.

"We are ready to offer free legal services to whoever wishes to bring any person or entity to court let it be police, government or members of the public who were involved in illegalities.

We cannot say that members of the public are not to blame as we saw those who were attacking security agencies an act we are not condoning," Fredric Ssemwanga the secretary general of UCLS said.


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