National Unity Platform – NUP and its president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu have sued government and four security chiefs in the High Court in Kampala over the October 2020 raid of the party offices in Kampala.
The four respondents are Chief of Defense Forces General David Muhoozi, Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola, Military Police Commander Keith Katungi and Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Moses Kafeero.
The party wants court to make a declaration that the actions of more than 1,000 officers directly under the control of the said officers, by going through their offices, stealing and damaging property amounts to an infringement on their freedom of consciousness, expression, movement, assembly and association.
Through their lawyers from four law firms led by Wameli and Company Advocates and Pace Advocates, the applicants contend that on October 14th 2020, the party headquarters located in Kamowkya were ambushed by a large number of joint security officers both plain clothed and uniformed like they were attacking enemies of the State.
The security officers including police, Uganda People’s Defense Forces -UPDF and Local Defense Unit-LDU were reportedly littered allover Kamowkya area. According to the evidence before court by the party president Kyagulanyi, security blocked all entrances to and from the offices and never allowed anyone in or out of the offices and in the process, they ended up destabilizing the party business.
The evidence dated November 17th 2020, further indicates that some security officers carried plasma cutters and started cutting the gate before forcing their way inside the premises.
As a result, security reportedly looted documents such as those bearing Kyagulanyi’s nomination signatures, branding materials, berets, bandannas, umbrellas, fliers, masks, CCTV cameras and digital video recorders from the office.
The party secretary general David Lewis Rubongoya in his supportive affidavit also says the party lost 23 million shillings in the raid, money which had been collected for the nomination of their parliamentary candidates in the recent concluded elections.
“..I tried to protest but I was shoved aside and insulted that the party would sum up nothing if they were still there, taking of the nomination forms put the nomination of the first applicant/Kyagulanyi in Limbo”, reads Rubongoya’s affidavit.
According to the two top party leaders therefore, the conduct of the respondents adversely affected their right and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution of Uganda and have occasioned untold inconveniences, mental anguish and distress for which they should be held liable and responsible.
But the Principal State Attorney, Jeffrey Atwine says the applicants shouldn’t have sued the security officers in their individual capacities as their actions done while on official duties can be defended by the Attorney General, the legal advisor of government.
At the time of the raid, the Deputy Spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs, Lt Col Deo Akiiki told journalists that the joint security had raided the offices targeting civilians who were using military related attires.
The case is allocated to Lady Justice Esta Nambayo who will be hearing it on March 22 2021.