Arua chaos: Uganda Law Society, EU Parliament differ on charges against MPs, others

Kenneth Kazibwe

Kenneth Kazibwe

, News

The Uganda Law Society has said it is premature to declare charges against Members of Parliament and other civilians in regards to the Arua Municipality by-election as being trumped up.

Following the chaos in Arua, 33 people including four MPs were arrested by security forces before being charged with treason for trying to harm the president of Uganda.

Last week, the European Union Parliament debated, before coming up with a resolution condemning the continued violation of human rights during and after the Arua Municipality parliamentary by-election before asking the Executive to respect the independence of Parliament and drop what they called trumped- up charges against all suspects implicated in the Arua fracas.

“The EU Parliament expresses its deep concern at the arrest of Opposition parliamentarians in connection with the Arua by-election and calls on the Ugandan authorities to drop what appear to be trumped-up charges against Bobi Wine and to stop the crackdown against Opposition politicians and supporters,” read part of the 14-point resolution dated September 13.

However, according to the Uganda Law Society president, Simon Peter Kinobe, it is wrong to declare charges as being trumped –up before courts of law investigate the same.

“We should not declare the charges trumped –up before courts of law do so. We can’t take over powers of courts of law to investigate and declare so,”Kinobe said.

“It would be sub judice to declare the charges trumped –up.”

According to Prof. Fredrick Ssempebwa, a member of the Uganda Law Society, it is wrong claim the charges are trumped- up without carrying out any investigation.

“We can’t jump to a conclusion that the charges were trumped- up. We should let justice take its course,” Prof. Ssempebwa said.

The Uganda government on Monday warned the European Union Parliament against calling for a drop of charges against the 33 people but let justice take its due course.

“Instead of asking courts to be as independent as possible, they are asking Ugandan courts to drop charges. We think these are premeditated efforts to hijack our institutions,” government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo told journalists on Monday.

He added, “The matters referred to in this resolution such as the threat to the security of the President while in Arua on August 15, the 33 people arrested in connection with this incident including the MPs and the regrettable loss of life of some of the people, are all under investigation by credible and competent arms of the state and overseen by an independent judicial system in Uganda. Could the EU parliament and those who actively promote impunity in other people’s nations have some humility in this area especially given the fact that matters under investigation are sub judice?”





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