Parliament Hears Claims of Torture by RDCs and RCCs
Women lawmakers from the opposition in Uganda’s Parliament have detailed instances of alleged mistreatment at the hands of Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), Resident City Commissioners (RCCs), and other district security personnel. They presented their accounts to the Presidential Affairs Committee, relating to incidents during International Women’s Day celebrations in their respective constituencies.
Joyce Bagala, the Member of Parliament for Mityana District representing the National Unity Platform (NUP), led the group of petitioners and claimed that Uganda Police Force personnel used force against them during a belated International Women’s Day celebration in Bakiina, Busujju County, Mityana District. Bagala stated that the police disrupted the event by firing tear gas, live bullets, and colored peppered water at the gathering without any apparent justification, leading to injuries and arrests.
Suzan Mugabi, another NUP legislator representing Buvuma District, allegedly faced a similar situation when organizing a women’s day event, with security officers using tear gas and physical force to disperse attendees. Other women MPs, including Christine Kaaya (Kiboga District, NUP), Florence Kabugho (Kasese District, FDC), Joan Alobo Ocom (Soroti City, FDC), reported similar actions by police and RDCs in their respective areas.
The petitioners argued that the actions of the police, UPDF, and RDCs violated the right to assembly as enshrined in Article 29 of the constitution. They called for the personal prosecution of officers and RDCs/RCCs involved in assaulting MPs and urged security agencies to refrain from interfering with legally permitted meetings.
Asinansi Nyakato, the Woman MP for Hoima City from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), revealed that during the confrontations with security officers, a two-year-old child named Kyakuhaire Ashraf sustained a head injury from a gunshot. Nyakato reported sending a letter to the minister for Presidency and the Minister of Internal Affairs regarding the misconduct of the RCC and DPC Hoima West Division but received no response.
Joan Alobo Ocom, a legislator from Soroti City representing FDC, raised complaints against Paak Peter Pex, the RCC for her city, for over a year. She accused the RCC of corruption tendencies and misuse of office, noting that he ordered the police to disrupt her women’s day celebrations.
In response, committee members expressed the need to compensate the affected women MPs, as substantial financial resources were invested in organizing the disrupted celebrations. They found it embarrassing that security officers mistreated MPs who hold higher ranks in the political hierarchy.
Robert Kasolo, an NRM representative for Iki-Iki County, suggested opening the petition to all women MPs in the country to address the issue comprehensively. He emphasized the importance of acting against such behavior to protect the nation from deterioration.
Stephen Itaza Aseera, an independent legislator for Buhanguzi East County, stressed the necessity of engaging RDCs in discussions, as their conduct had jeopardized service delivery at the district level.
The MPs called for the perpetrators to be held accountable, stating that such behavior would not be tolerated by Parliament. As of the time of reporting, there was no information regarding a planned meeting with the Uganda Police Force to address the allegations.