KAMPALA – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Friday called upon elected leaders across the country to stand up and resist excesses of security forces, especially in regards to human right violations.
The President was speaking to selected members of the media fraternity at State House –Nakasero. He said it surprises him to hear of cases of torture against civilians, yet the elected leaders were doing nothing to stop the vice.
“We are against all these arrests without trial; we organised you people from LCI – those structures must bring it up and we follow it up.
“There is popular power everywhere; they should bring up all these issues if they want to keep popularity. Bring up the legitimate issues of the people. That should deal with the illegal arrests. Even if the policemen were corrupt, the antidote is there; the elected people; why don’t they defend their people; that will check the police…
“Use all this power that the NRM gave you,” said Museveni in response to a question about the increased cases of torture and illegal arrests.
The President reasoned that some arrested people spend longer time on remand because of the limited number of judicial officers.
“We have few judges and magistrates because we have so many things to do; – the roads, the electricity. If you look at the budget, the ministry of works at one time got Ugx6trn – not that we didn’t know the judiciary needed more money…we said, let us have fewer judges so the infrastructure is there to produce more wealth,” said Museveni.
He said in the past he had given security organs guidelines on how to handle people, adding that he was surprised that the complaints of torture and illegal arrests have persisted.
“You don’t have to beat; just interrogate whether he admits or not, he can be sentenced or even hanged but legally…… We need the arrester; we need the prosecutor and we need the judge. So really, it’s part of capacity building. The law is there but they have not absorbed it in their blood,” he added.
At the same gathering, the President said he was yet to be briefed about the on-going vandalism of electricity lines in some parts of the country. He said although he had read about the issue in newspapers, he was yet to attend any meeting where the matter was raised. He however, vowed to crack down hard on elements behind the vandalism.
“Once I come in, those vandals will not like it, they will be six feet under. It will be solved, are the power lines in Uganda or in Congo; they will be handled,” said Museveni, who seemed to have forgotten his earlier position on abuses of human rights.
On the issues of insecurity in the country where a number of police stations have been attacked and guns stolen, Museveni said the on-going war in the DR Congo will not end until the rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces – ADF were wiped out. ADF has been accused of masterminding several attacks in Uganda.
“ADF was a group which was started by our young Muslims here who had been trained in Arab countries… They were supported by (Omar) Bashir and Mobutu. They were there having gardens and controlling that area of eastern Congo until we went there.
“Now that we have gone, there is no way they will survive. If they are involved in the issue of the power lines, they will be wiped out,” added the President.