Court sets hearing date for NUP office raid case

Wednesday January 27 2021
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This photo taken on October 14, 2020 shows one of Bobi Wine supporters walking out of NUP offices in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb following police raid. PHOTOS/ MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI.

By Juliet Kigongo

High Court, in Kampala, has set March 22 as date for hearing a case in which former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine sued government and its four commanders over raiding opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party offices in October last year.

The four commanders who are the respondents from the first to sixth  in this case are; Chief of Defense Forces General David Muhoozi, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola, Military Police Commander Keith Katungi, Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Moses Kafeero and Attorney General (AG).

In a sworn affidavit to support their case, NUP secretary general, Mr David Lewis Rubongoya states, "On October 14, 2020; while at the party headquarters at Kamwokya along old Kiira road during activities to wit nomination of parliamentary candidates for the 2021- 2026 general election, we were ambushed without prior warning by a large number of officers, both plain and uniformed officers from military, LDU and Police."

Mr Kyagulanyi together with his party want a court declaration- that the actions of over security officers directly under the control of the four commanders in pillaging, ravaging and ransacking the offices of NUP constitutes an egregious infringement of the right to privacy.

Mr Rubongoya further states that the officers who surrounded their offices were collectively around 1,000 or more, and littered all over Kamwokya area, blocking all entrances without letting in or out thus destabilizing normal party business.

"While at the gate, some officers carrying plasma cutters started cutting the gate and when asked by the gatemen why they were doing so, they responded that they had instructions from their bosses; the first, second and third respondents, to search our offices," Mr Rubongoya stated.

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"We further asked them whether they had a search warrant. They arrogantly informed us that they did not need any because they were officers of government and that the law gives them the mandate to search any place with or without a warrant," he added.

According to court documents, when the officers were asked for their  names they refused to answer- as they had visibly removed their name tags from the uniforms, forcing themselves inside the premises of NUP offices thus entering into the offices of election management committee, secretary general, communication office and the party president's office.

"A struggle ensued thereafter and for my safety's sake, I was rushed into the offices. The officers came into the office and made a parade form from the gate to my office and then started looting," Mr Rubongoya narrates.

Court documents further indicate that while in there, they looted everything they could land their hands unto which included all kinds of documents branding materials of the party, berets, bandanas, umbrellas, masks, posters among others.

“The party had also collected money for nomination of members of parliament that was ongoing to a tune of Shs23 million. We tried to protest as to why they were taking the same but they cocked guns at us and continued with the pillaging in complete disregard of the law," the court documents read.  

Mr Rubongoya said the conduct of the respondents has adversely affected their right and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution of Uganda and have occasioned horrendous inconvenience, mental anguish and distress for which they hold them responsible.

jkigongo@ug.nationmedia.com

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