MPs from the ruling party have condemned the high-handedness used by security agencies while effecting the arrest of Victoria University Vice Chancellor, Dr. Lawrence Muganga (pictured).
Led by Mbatakamwa Gaffa (Igara West) and David Kabanda (Kasambya County), the duo threatened to go to court and have security agencies produce Muganga dead or alive if the 48 hour constitutional time within which to charge a suspect aren’t honoured by government.
“We are concerned about the way Lawrence Muganga was arrested. The Vice Chancellor was arrested on grounds of spying on Uganda, actually it was a kidnap. He has dual citizenship both Canadian and Ugandan,” said Mbatakamwa while addressing journalists at Parliament today.
He wondered why Government used the cruel nature once used by Amin Government in the 70s instead of summoning Muganga.
He added: “We don’t want to see brutality in Amin done on Ugandans. You can’t reduce him to that level.
The people in office were beaten. If he has stayed illegality. Can a Ugandans citizens stay illegally in their country? There is no way state can come up and say he isn’t Uganda which means he is spying on his own country.”
Mbatakamwa pleaded with President Museveni to intervene in Muganga’s plight and make sure the Victoria University VC is released immediately, saying the manner in which he was “arrested” is shaming.
He even blamed security forces of trying to tarnish the name of President Museveni stating that the President went to the bush to end cruelty in Amin’s regime and therefore, there is no way he could have ordered for Muganga arrest in such a cruel manner.
Mbwatekamwa remarked, “It is so shaming the manner he was arrested. Please I don’t think Museveni was aware the way you arrested that man because that is the reason he went to the bush.”
However, it should be recalled that President as head of State is Commander in Chief and no deployment takes place within and outside Uganda without his authorisation.
Mbwatekamwa even threatened to go to court if Government doesn’t produce him in court by Monday.
David Kabanda (Kasambya) said although he wasn’t going to condemn the arrest of Muganga because any Ugandan can be arrested if he commits a crime, he rather protested the manner in which Muganga was arrested, comparing it to kidnap
“I don’t believe he was arrested. We know who has mandate to arrest Ugandans. He was kidnapped by people not identified by security of Muganga that’s why you saw that scuffle. Joint security has no mandate to arrest it is mandate of police. The status of Muganga I don’t think he would have violated laws,” Kabanda said.
Muganga is said to have been picked up by security agents three days ago and it wasn’t after two days that UPDF admitted to having him in their custody, accusing him of espionage and staying in the country illegally.
Although Muganga hasn’t been produced in court yet, the decision for the army to arrest a civilian comes at the time Constitutional Court in July 2021 ruled that although the Court Martial is a competent court under the 1995 Constitution, its powers are only limited to serving officers of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces.
The Constitutional court’s ruling follows a 2016 petition by the then Nakawa Member of Parliament Michael Kabaziguruka challenging his trial in the General Court Martial following his arrest on terrorism charges, with UPDF claiming Kabaziguruka was found in possession with firearms, a preserve of armed forces.
The trio Justices including; Kenneth Kakuru, Remmy Kasule and Hellen Obura argued that the UPDF Act was never intended to be an Act of general application.