Kampala. Members of Parliament, yesterday grilled the State minister for Internal Affairs, Mr Obiga Mario Kania, over what they called security agencies turning politician’s homes into illegal detention centres.
They cited the current situation at the home of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, alias, Bobi Wine.
Mr Kyagulanyi, whose planned Easter season music concerts at his One Love Beach in Busabala, a Kampala suburb, Arua and Gulu, were blocked by the police, has had his home at Magere in Wakiso District surrounded by police.
The singer-turned politician has not been able to leave home since Monday evening. He had been arrested earlier on Monday as he proceeded to Busabala where his concert was planned but he was later in the evening forced back home by the police.
Yesterday, during a plenary sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, MPs, especially of the Opposition, tasked Mr Kania to explain why police have not arrested Mr Kyagulanyi and charged him in courts of law instead of confining him to his home.
This was after the Minister made a statement to the House, saying police had preferred charges against Mr Kyagulanyi, who was expected to appear at the Crime Intelligence and Criminal Investigations Directorate (CIID) at Kibuli to record a statement. He, however, said the legislator is a “free man” within the confinement of his home.
“Yes, it is true that police are still in the premises of the Hon Kyagulanyi. The reason is police have decided to prefer charges against him and he has been summoned to appear at CID headquarters to record a statement this afternoon (yesterday) or tomorrow,” Mr Kania stated without specifying the charges.
This prompted Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo to rise, saying the minister was not sure of what he was telling the House.
“The minister is debating in anticipation” he said, adding: “Why do you say Hon Kyagulanyi has been charged yet the police continues to surround his home without taking him to court?”
Kasese Woman MP Winfred Kiiza asked the Minister to explain why government is “humiliating” politicians, especially of the Opposition by always surrounding their homes something that hurts their children and spouses.
Mr Oulanyah challenged the government to always follow the law by effecting arrests whenever a person is found committing a crime or is about to committee, instead of confining people to their homes.
“If it has been established that he committed a crime, then his place should be court not his house. We cannot have it either way,” the Deputy Speaker said.
It is at this point that minister Kania changed his mind and told the House that he was going to instruct the police to formerly arrest Mr Kyagulanyi and take him to a gazetted detention centre.
He said Mr Kyagulanyi’s home is not being surrounded because he is a politician but as a person, who the police say committed a crime.
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Ms Betty Aol Ocan, castigated government security agencies for taking actions that are likely to force Ugandans to react with chaos.
Ms Ocan, who visited Mr Kyagulanyi’s home earlier in the day, said both the people in government and those in Opposition would negatively be affected if Ugandans opt for civil disobedience.