Skip to content

Detention without trail; another slap to Uganda Constitution?

July 17, 2011

In April, in the heat of walk to work protests that were led by opposition groups, President Museveni suggested he would bring proposals to parliament to change the constitution. He said he would seek to remove constitutional bail for “rioters, economic saboteurs, rapists and murders.” At time many thought the president was merely speaking out of anger as the Uganda was in international headlines everyday thanks to the high-handedness  the security forces used against the protesters who simply wanted to walk to work to highlight the need for concrete interventions in rising food and fuel prices.

To shock of many and those who think still has the vision for this country, Museveni has insisted that that detention without trial for months for anyone under the group he has mentioned is really needed. The proposal is a clear move by Museveni to get to arrest and detain his political opponents or those who question his policies. He just threw in categories like rape and murder to play emotions of Ugandans. He knows even within his own party, many don’t agree with his move to remove a constitutional right and breaching of the law that recognises that one is innocent until proven guilty.

The Uganda Constitution provides that a person arrested in respect of a criminal offence is entitled to apply to the court to be released on bail and the court may grant the same on such conditions as the court considers reasonable.

To bypass those opposed to this change even in his own party, President Museveni has called for a referendum which he is sure he can manipulate to get his desired outcome just like many elections we have had since he came to power.

Daily Monitor quoted Livingstone Ssewanyana, a human rights activist saying such A change would be contested in court but also said.

“The referendum would be a good idea” as it would “let Ugandans decide if they want to be enslaved by such an unconstitutional move”.

In the past,President Museveni has used trumped up rape charges against his opponents. As a person who has worked with survivors of sexual violence in war affected areas in Uganda (some of it carried out by government forces), I don’t think Museveni’s inclusion of rape in this category is an attempt to address the issue. Denial of bail cannot  stop the rape or provide the much needed services for those who have been rape victims and can’t easily access justice.

To entertain an idea of holding such a referendum at a time when the economy is not doing well, when many are unemployed shows how out of touch the president is. We will watch and see if the president will achieve his mission and this might not be impossible if you know how the constitution was changed to deal away with presidential term limits.

About these ads
3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2011 11:59 pm

    That kind of move would set uganda back many years in terms of democracy n human rights.the fyt for a beter uganda wil b long n weakening.hts.the fyt for a beter uganda wil b long n weakening.

  2. February 23, 2012 5:12 pm

    This makes me appreciate more living in a democratic country wherein human rights is recognize and everyone has the rights for freedom of speech.

  3. April 29, 2012 9:13 pm

    Many Ugandans think tha the oposition have a rigt to do what ever they want even if it involves subortaging National security thats why they never hold peaceful demonstration in the central bussines so the oposition should use clean ways to litelary convince uganda

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 14,980 other followers

%d bloggers like this: