Two judges of the High Court were reportedly manhandled by security forces for allegedly flouting night curfew directives last Friday in Mbale District.
The current curfew, which starts from 7pm to 6:30am, is one of the measures aimed at minimising the spread of Covid-19.
Justice David Wangutusi, the head of the International Crimes Division, and Wilson Masalu Musene, the resident judge of Soroti High Court, were found at a hangout in Mbale city after 7pm.
The judges were in the company of the prime minister of Inzu-Ya- Masaaba, Mr Francis Nagimesi, and a doctor, Dominic Waburoko.
Dr Waburoko said when Justice Wangutusi finished playing golf, he went to the hangout for a refreshment before being joined by his colleague.
“It was on Friday at 7:30pm when Justice Wangutusi crossed from the golf course to a nearby restaurant for water. After a few minutes, Justice Musene also joined us from Soroti and ordered food. Mr Nagimesi also joined us. It was at that time police officers arrived at the scene,” he said yesterday.
Mr Ayub Mafabi, a resident, said police and army officers found the judicial officers while on night patrol.
“They (judges) were rounded up and ordered to stop whatever they were doing. They tried to plead with police officers but in vain,” he said.
Mr Muhamood Masaba, the district NRM chairperson, who came to their rescue, told Daily Monitor that security personnel had ordered the judges to sit down with the rest of the suspects.
“I found the police and army at the scene. I told them that these were judges, and that they had to be treated with utmost respect,” Mr Masaba said.
He added that he found Dr Waburoko explaining to the security officers about the judges’ status but they were ignoring him.
The judges were later left to return to their homes after the intervention of the police leadership .
It was not clear where their respective bodyguards were at the time.
When contacted yesterday, Justice Wangutusi denied being arrested.
“I have never been arrested and ordered to lie down by those people as it is being portrayed in the media. If this had happened, Mbale would not be the same,” Justice Wangutusi said.
Mr Jude Wandera, the Elgon UPDF spokesperson, said they would continue arresting anybody found flouting the Covid-19 presidential directives.
“I have heard about the incident but I know nobody is above the law. Even generals can be arrested. We are all under the law and Covid-19 directives,” he said.