Egumire September 28, 2021

Democratic Party continues to celebrate the life of Benedicto Kiwanuka, we have had several activities including planting trees by some members of the party, we also held a memorial mass at his home in Bukomansimbi.

In the spirit of celebrating his life, we dedicate today’s Press Conference to Benedicto Kiwanuka who remains the emblem of democracy, Constitutionalism and Rule of Law in the Country.

Benedicto Kiwanuka was abducted from his chambers at the High Court of Uganda on the 22nd day of September 1972, we are now counting 49 years since his murder, though departed his legacy lives on.

Independence of the Judiciary

As the crusaders of Constitutionalism and Rule of Law, we note with concern that the existence of the pillar of justice provided for under article 128 of the Constitution of Uganda is under threat, this article provides for the independence of the Judiciary, it emanates the discretionary powers of the judicial officers, it forms the foundation of Judgements in Courts of Law without which there is a miscarriage of Justice.

We cannot keep silent when the discretionary power that is constitutionally granted to the Judicial officers to make decisions independent of external interference is being quashed.

The President seeks constitutional amendments to make what is constitutional unconstitutional while making constitutional what is unconstitutional, the discretion to grant bail to suspects is a preserve of the judicial officer before whom the matter appears. The constitution does not provide for a right to bail it rather gives the right to ask for bail, therefore it is the right to ask for bail that is constitutional not the right to bail, the president needs to be legally assisted in that regard.

Judging from the outbursts of the President, it is evident that he ordered for the rearrest of the suspects that had been granted bail, this conduct is measured equally with the interference of the independence of the judiciary during General Iddi Amin’s regime that saw Benedicto Kiwanuka whose works he was celebrating yesterday murdered.

That said, the Democratic Party wishes to invite right-thinking Ugandans including religious leaders, politicians, cultural leaders, the media and all opinion leaders to condemn and thwart the moved that is intended to suppress the independence of the judiciary as this will jeopardize dispensation of Justice.

Let us all rise to condemn it, let us not be the true embodiment of Pastor Martin Niemoller’s quotation that, ” First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”

Worship Centers should be allowed to sit half the Capacity

We welcomed the idea of opening up worship centres however we believe and strongly so that this was done unreasonably, you cannot give a standard figure of congregants without considering the capacity of the worship centres. Let the worship centres be allowed to host half the seating capacity of the congregants, in the same manner, it was done in public transport, it is unreasonable to grant the Church whose seating capacity is 4000 people permission to host 200 worshippers in the same manner as that with a seating capacity of 50 people, the latter will be full with congestion which does not allow the observation of Standard Operating Procedures but still in consonance with the law.

Lastly, education institutions needed not wait any longer to be opened and yet Sports betting centers are open this would attract our children into sports betting which is addictive, the government should also give a longer period for the schools to register in preparation of opening, it should not compulsory for schools to register before opening as this will allow enough time for the proprietors to prepare their institutions adequately for better service delivery.

Thank you

Okoler Opio Lo Amanu