By Kungu Al-mahadi Adam
How do you expect Ugandans to draw a line between abductions by the state and those by criminals?Important Note
If there is a time I have attentively listened to you Mr President, it was yesterday when you briefed the country on the state of security and other related issues. I was very much interested in listening to how you would juggle around with the ongoing kidnappings of Ugandans perceived not to be your supporters by the security you solely commands.
It is undisputed Ugandans especially in central region, continue to be kidnapped by security personnel using ‘drones’ white in color, both numberless and others with government number plates. This has lingered on for months, in what many have described as a semblance of the ‘panda gari’ days.
In your address, you explicitly disassociated your security forces from the unlawful arrests, abductions, torture, revenge, etcetera. It is here that you rose my curiosity to understand how you would term all the illegalities they engage in on a daily but alas you mentioned it not.
I further watched you try to justify the arrest of individuals you claimed participated in the November 18 and 19 riots, playing clips of them burning tyres in roads and others attacking security personnel, which actions, in opinion were not right.
However, the concern of Ugandans which you did not address, is the unlawful and illegal arresting procedures done by your securitymen. You didn’t mention even a single word on the drones used to kidnap Ugandans yet this is the lifeline of the matter.
Hundreds of relatives of victims continue to ask for the whereabouts of their abducted people but no one is answering yet they witnessed them being arrested on streets, markets, homes, etc by both non-uniformed and uniformed armed security personnel.
The fact that you say you have ordered security agencies to provide details of the arrested (kidnapped) Ugandans, in itself is an admission for state state being behind the kidnappings done.
Mr. President, anyone can be arrested but the arrest must be lawful. That is the democracy to you pride about always. Why kidnap, torture (as narrated by some freed victims) and block lawyers and relatives from accessing their people moreover not for just days but months?
We all saw what happened to Ssenyange – the boxer. You admitted that your securitymen shot dead the man they had gone to arrest. Why invade the person in the night? Wasn’t there a more smart and professional way you would have him arrested?
They same is reported to be happening to many other Ugandans whose houses your security personnel have reportedly broken into at night to have them arrested. Is that proper Mr President? What happened to the presumption of innocence enshrined in our laws.
Okay, even if you arrest them in which way you choose, what prevents you from telling the relatives where you are keeping them, the charges and when you are to present them to courts of law?
Why ambush and abduct people? How does your style of arrest differ from criminals who abduct people in similar ways? How do you expect Ugandans to draw a line between abductions by the state and those by criminals?
Why must it take you the President to direct security to issue details of the arrested individuals? I thought the law is clear on suspects. What happened to our systems sir?
How come that you refused to comment on the tortured suspects whom you have since freed but with huge and several torture injuries? I did not hear you order for the arrest of your men who meted such injustices on them.
Mr President, the actions of the security agencies you command are steadily exonerating Rwanda on their recent claims that you kidnap and hold their nationals incommunicado. If at all you can allow such to happen to your own citizens here, then what happens to foreigners?
My humble appeal to you Sir is, please respect the rule of law. Why should Ugandans feel insecure in the country you are presiding over, yet security and safety of everyone has for decades been one of your greatest achievements. Reign in on your unprofessional securitymen, don’t pretend like you don’t see the illegalities they are commiting.
Mr President, please listen.
The writer is a Ugandan Journalist with passion for current African Affairs.