The recent arrests, kidnaps, and raids carried out by Internal Security Organisation (ISO) have sparked off questions on their mandate. Even though the law prohibits the current nature of some of ISO’s operations, the security organs has consistently carried them out forcing the public to revisit the mandate of ISO.
The operations begun last year, and they haven’t stopped even this year, leading to the arrest of Gen. Kale Kayihura implicating him over masterminding the repatriation of Rwandan refugees among other cases.
One of the victims of these arrests, narrates to me a story, he’ll never forget. This is a story of Charles Etukuri’s kidnap, arrest and detention by yet to be identified persons. “As I was approaching my car just outside my office, a pick up car drove towards me and two men jumped out with guns, told me I was under arrest. I was thrown into the car and my face covered with a dirty jacket”, Charles Etukuri narrated to Nile Post.
But what justifies that this operation was done by ISO?
“Days later, I was taken to meet Kaka Bagyenda, the ISO Director General. I was told my story on the death of foreigners at Sheraton Hotel annoyed him, and he wanted to know my sources,” Charles said.
Charles was detained for more than a week and no person was allowed to meet him, not even his lawyers. But what does he law say about ISO’s operations?
The formation of ISO is constituted in the security organ act 1987, that was developed the NRC in 1987, for matters of intelligence on security of Uganda.
This very Act, stipulates the functions of ISO and ESO.
- to collect, receive and process internal and external intelligence data on the security of Uganda.
- to advise and recommend to the President or any other authority as the President may direct on what action should be taken in connection with that intelligence data.
The act further prohibits any arrests done by ISO or ESO in the restrictions. Section 2 of the restrictions states that; No officer or employee of either organization shall have power to arrest, detain or confine any person by virtue only of being an officer or employee of either organization.
The act is also clear on who exactly should carry out the arrest, in case it is called for.
“Only Police can carry out the arrests on behalf of ISO, even when ISO does the arrests in case of emergence cases, they are supposed to handover the suspects to Police, so that they are produced in court.” Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo told the Nile Post, citing some sections of the 1987 security organs act.
From the victim’s word, it is clear to me that ISO’s arrests were not done by Police. Could there be a broken relationship between the two Security agencies?
“Our relationship with ISO is so good. We have been working together for a long time, there is no problem at all.” Patrick Onyango, the Deputy Police Spokesperson told the Nile Post.
However, Nicholas Opiyo disagrees; “This is undermining the entire Police institution and the IGP is just watching. Why is ISO presuming Police’s role?” Opiyo wondered.
Security Analyst, Charles Rwomushana seemed to be agreeing with Opiyo. “The whole thing is a mess! There is need of restructuring ISO, right from their Public Relations, to the leaders. You can even tell from the way they handled the death of foreigners at Sheraton Hotel. Blaming Police, then their staff is arrested.”
Nile Post constantly contacted the Director General of ISO, Kaka Bagyenda for a comment, but he couldn’t answer anything on the matter.