Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has asked the leadership of police to reconsider the practice of sending low-ranking officers of police to arrest members of parliament saying it is unreasonable and undermines the dignity of parliament.
Oulanyah made the call through his comminication to the house this afternoon as parliament moves to reclaim it’s independence and respect from other arms of government especially the executive.
Today’s plenary session was one-sided after the opposition maintained a boycott of plenary sittings announced yesterday, citing disrepect for parliament, following the arrest of 2 MPs without notifying the speaker as procedure demands.
In his communication today, Jacob Oulanyah re-echoed his earlier call to security agencies to follow parliaimantary procedure in execution of the law in relation to arrest of MPs.
Oulanyah however added that the arrests should be conducted by high ranking officers instead of “police constables.”
“Sometimes, senior people issue instructions and people impliment them in a disregard of the law but the petson who issued the instructions end up taking the blame. Ordinarily, even if you are to arrest a member of parliament, it should not be junior officers. It shoud not be police constables. It shoud be officers of a certain rank to arrest a member of parliament” Oulanyah said.
“A member of parliament should not be arrested by a police constable because they dont know the rules. Even if they know, they sometimes exceed them!”
Oulanyah cited a case of arrests involving high ranking army officers where a junior officer cannot arrest a soldier of a higher rank as his/hers. He said officers of a “high rank” are able to engage suspects in a proffessional way to effect a smooth arrest.
He also implored commanders who oversee arrests to always categorise the messages when issuing instructions to officers going to execute arrests.
The issue arise from the re-arrest of Hon Alan Ssewanyana and Hon Muhamed Segirinya, this week, after Court granted them bail on charges of terrorism and murder in relation to insecurity in Greater Masaka. Yesterday, Oulanyah informed the house that his office was not notified about the arrests as per the law.
Oulanyah said the provisions in the law which require summons to MPs to be served through the office of the speaker, must be followed.
“Honorable members, these provisions of the law are not just decorations. They are for a purpose and systems should be respected…when we issue summons, we should respect them (MPs). The way this was handled, it was not right” He said.
Oulanyah however stated that his communication should not be misconstrued to mean that MPs are special, but the diginity of the house must be protected.
“I have seen the video clips, it was not right! I was very upset. It shouldnt be happening. These are the things we need to change as we go along so respect is given to every citizen of this country and they are treated fairly within the law” Oulanyah stated.
During the plenary session, Internal Affairs minister of state, Gen David Muhoozi, apologized to the house for delayed transmission of summons to the house but informed members that the due course of the law will be followef in the case of Allan Ssewanyana and Muhammed Segirinya.
Gen Muhoozi said the two MPs were today arraigned before court in Masaka and Segirinya has been allowed to seek appropriate medical care in a private health facility ad requested by his lawyers.