Mbale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Chief of Defense Forces General David Muhoozi has admitted that he gave a green light to the Special Forces Command (SFC) to storm Parliament during the debate on the constitutional amendment Bill 2017.
Muhoozi, the fourth witness for cross examination at the Constitutional Court hearing in Mbale said he allowed the deployment following a request from the then former Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura.
Muhoozi submitted that he allowed the deployment Special Forces Command (SFC) soldiers attached to President’s office located next to Parliament because Kale Kayihura had told him that there was an emergency that need a joint operation with the Police.
He said the emergency was in the estimation of the Police who called for the intervention of the Army.
The Petitioner’s lawyer, Lasidilus Rwakafuzi challenged General David Muhoozi on whether the National Security Council had Okayed to the alleged state of emergency.
Rwakafuzi asked General Muhoozi on whether he was aware that the invasion of the military into Parliament was taking away subservient powers of parliament over the military.
Muhoozi shot back saying the army was there to restore the integrity of Parliament. His response attracted murmurs and then laughter in the fully packed courtroom. A number of FDC party leaders and MPS were in attendance.
Rwakafuzi said the UPDF invasion of Parliament was aimed at intimidating MPs who were due to debate the constitution amendment Bill.
But Muhoozi insisted that they went there to support police to enforce law and order. Muhoozi was pointed to the fact that the national Security Council had not approved the said state of emergency.
He said he was not aware of the legal requirement that such a deployment had to be approved by the national Security Council.
Further challenged by Rwakafuzi on whether the deployment had been agreed to by the Speaker of Parliament, Muhoozi said he did not have to seek the Speaker’s permission because the Speaker was above him.
He said he not also consult with the Sergeant at Arms, who officially is the Head of parliament under the commonwealth Parliamentary practice.
The elite Special Forces Command (SFC) soldiers and police officers on 19th September last year stormed parliament forcibly ejected several legislators opposed to lifting the age limit from the Constitution .
The soldiers are also alleged to have tortured a number of MPs during the scuffle that happened moments after Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga had suspended 25 MPS then opposed to the procedure in Parliament.
Mukono MP, Betty Namboze, one of the legislators injured during the scuffle had earlier told court that she saw men in suits marching in a single file from President’s office. She said the same people stormed Parliament and beat her and her colleagues.
While Muhoozi denied that the deployed SFC officers tortured the legislators, he confirmed that they put on civilian clothes after consultation with sergeant at Arms, Ahmed Kagoye.
This is the first time that a leader of one of the Security Agencies in the country is admitting to the storming of Parliament. Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga after the fateful day reportedly wrote to the President demanding for an explanation.
General Muhoozi in an affidavit which he says he swore at the Attorney General’s Chambers was giving justification on why the security forces stormed Parliament.
His admission attracted a number of question from some judges wondering whether the police deployed at Parliament wouldn’t have been adequate.
Justice Alphonso Owiny-Dollo asked the question immediately after the petitioner’s lawyer had closed their cross examination.
Justice Kenneth Kakuru also followed with a question wondering whether the storming of parliament was not an emergency but a pre-planned.
Justice Remmy Kasule, one of the judges hearing the petition challenged General David Muhoozi on the fact that he seemed not to have made wider consultation before granting the deployment at parliament.
Justice Owiny-Dollo said General David is the first head of the Army to appear before Court in relation to actions of the military.
— The Independent (@UGIndependent) December 18, 2017