November 23, 2020

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Lawyers hit back at Gen. Tumwine

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Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Lawyers under different organizations have hit back at Minister of Security, Gen. Elly Tumwine over statements he made regarding the conduct of security personnel during the two-day city protests. 

On Friday Tumwine told journalists at the media center that the police and other security personnel have a right to kill protesters if they are attacked. Tumwine added that he had no apologies for anybody who was killed while attacking security forces.  

Speaking on Saturday at Makerere University Guest House lawyers under their organizations; Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity, Uganda Muslim Lawyers Association, Network for Public Interest Lawyers, Uganda Catholic Lawyers Association and Muslim Center for Justice and Law, said the security personnel can only kill when attacked by armed people. 

Fredrick Ssemwanga, the Secretary-General of the Uganda Catholic Lawyers said that what was witnessed during the protests is security personnel directly targeting unarmed people who were not involved in the protests. 

Ssemwanga says that the actions of the security personnel are unacceptable and illegal. 

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, riots and demonstrations broke out in Kampala and around the country after the arrest of National Unity Platform presidential candidate, Kyagulanyi Robert Ssentamu in Luuka district. Over 50 people have so far have been confirmed as having died mainly from bullets that were fired at them by joint security forces of the police, army and the Local Defense Unit. 

John Osapiri, the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity called upon key government institutions such as the Judiciary, Parliament, the Inspector General of Police and the Army to investigate their officers who might have carried out the indiscriminate killing of innocent Ugandans. Osapiri said that it is only when there is accountability that such actions will not be repeated in the future. 

He said that the only way Uganda will have a free and fair election in 2021, is to allow candidates to freely interact with their supporters without undue interference from security forces.

The lawyers said they are going to investigate the human rights violations with a view of dragging the perpetrators to court to answer to these charges. They called upon all persons who might have been affected, to reach out to them to see how they can help them access justice.  

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