Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Jinja East Member of Parliament, Paul Mwiru is planning to table a motion demanding for an inquiry into the misconduct of Uganda Peoples Defense Forces-UPDF soldiers whenever they are deployed in civil matters.
Mwiru says that in the recent past, there has been an increased intervention of UPDF in civil matters notably in the regulation of the fishing industry and quelling protests especially the recent student protest at Makerere University marred by misconduct of soldiers.
A copy of a motion seen by URN, Mwiru notes that there has been gross violation of human and people’s rights in civil matters involving UPDF, which should ordinarily be a preserve of the Uganda Police Force as stipulated in Article 212 of the Constitution.
He says Article 209 of the Constitution mandates UPDF to preserve and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Uganda, cooperate with the civilian authority in emergency situations and in cases of natural disasters, but also foster harmony and an understanding between the Defense Forces and civilians and to engage in productive activities for the development of Uganda.
“The UPDF act provide for aiding of civil power by the UPDF, such aid is subjected to the invitation of civil authority and does not in any way over-ride the constitutional provisions on the protection and promotion of fundamental and other human rights and freedoms,” he says.
Mwiru now wants Parliament to institute a select committee to inquire into UPDF involvement in civilian matters with a view of establishing and apportioning culpability. On several occasions, soldiers have come under the spotlight for their tough action towards civilians. In the past, soldiers have been accused of brutality in their fight against illegal fishing activities on Ugandan waters.
Following the students protest against the implementation of the 15 percent tuition increment at Makerere University, soldiers were accused of raiding student rooms and destroyed property.
As a result of the nationwide condemnation, Brigadier Richard Karemire, the UPDF Spokesperson announced that the army has picked arrested Capt. Ronald Lubeera who was led the raid.
Appearing before the Education Committee investigating the matter, the Deputy Army Commander, Wilson Mbadi, said they only intervened because the situation in the University was getting out of hand. He also said individuals who act against the law are not tolerated and would be disciplined.