The Uganda Law Society (ULS), a professional body that brings together over 2000 practicing advocates has lashed out at police for watching on as demonstrators raided Makindye Chief Magistrates’ Court, Wednesday.
ULS President Francis Gimara told journalists in Kampala this afternoon that if the police had restrained the demonstrators from besieging the court, ugly scenes witnessed in the precincts of Makindye Chief Magistrates Court could have been prevented.
His statement is based on the demonstration mounted by hundreds of people challenging the impending trial of the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura, who was summoned before Makindye court to answer to torture charges for beating up Dr Kizza Besigye’s supporters last month.
Kayihura was summoned alongside seven other senior officers of the police force. They include Andrew Kaggwa, James Ruhweza, Samuel Bamuziibire, Patrick Muhumuza, Wesley Nganizi, Geoffrey Kaheebwa and Moses Nanoka.
The case stems from an attack on July 14, in which a group of police officers commanded by Kaggwa, surrounded bodaboda riders near Busaabala Road junction off Entebbe Road and ruthlessly clobbered them while they accompanied Dr Besigye to the FDC party headquarters in Najjanankumbi.
They were all expected in court on Wednesday. While the officers snubbed court, demonstrators besieged court and attempted to lynch lawyers who privately instituted the charges against Kayihura. The lawyers were blocked from entering the court premises with some being forced to seek haven in the chambers of Chief Magistrate Richard Mafabi.
The lawyers led by Nicholas Opiyo, Daniel Walyemera and Abdullah Kiwanuka were rescued and driven to safer destinations under the protection of the police.
Gimara says that although the constitution allows its citizens to peacefully demonstrate, this should not be abused with the demonstrations being staged at court premises. He added that the courts of judicature should be allowed to perform their judicial functions without interference and threats.
“The Uganda Law Society is deeply concerned by the reports that the chaos that erupted at the Chief Magistrates Court of Makindye yesterday, proceeded under the indifferent watch of the officers of the Uganda Police Force” Gimara said.
To that effect, the lawyers are demanding that all people should respect the sanctity of the courts of law and also support the due process of the law and allow both judicial officers and lawyers to perform their respective duties without intimidation.
They are also praying for an expeditious and thorough inquiry that led to the raid on Makindye court and bring those behind the acts to justice.
The lawyers also want the police to ensure that it does not waiver from its constitutional mandate to protect life, property and liberty of the citizens at any one given time even in the case is against the police officers.