The Observer (Kampala)

8 January 2013

Uganda: How Ssekikubo Was Beaten, Arrested

Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo was on Monday night brutally arrested in connection with statements he made about the controversial death of Butaleja Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda.

Police have been looking for Ssekikubo following the arrest of MPs Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) and Dr Chris Baryomunsi (Kinkiizi East).

They got him on Monday, after he had participated in collecting signatures to recall the House from recess to debate the fallout from Nebanda's death. Upon leaving Parliament on Monday, Ssekikubo attended a meeting at an undisclosed location in town which lasted till 9:30pm. Ssekikubo then decided to head for his residence in Kawempe, a suburb near Kampala.

Driving his Land Cruiser vehicle with three others, among them Isha Ntumwa, who lost the Mawogola county parliamentary seat to Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa in 2011, Ssekikubo drove to the Bombo Road City Oil filling station to refill his car. At that point, police detectives who had been trailing him in a Toyota Premio Reg. N0. UAP 297J alighted from the vehicle.

"They parked just right in front of our car and called him outside. They talked for some time before he returned and informed us about what was going on," Ntumwa told The Observer.

In the process, Ssekikubo started locking his car windows, which the security men interpreted as an attempt to resist arrest. According to another account by Muhammad Kateregga, the Bukomansimbi district chairman, who had gone to the same filling station, the security officers then attempted to drag the MP out of his car against his wish. Ssekikubo had demanded that before he is taken, those arresting him identify themselves.

"One of them tried to push his hand through the window but hurriedly pulled it out to avoid being trapped," Ntumwa said.

It's then that the operative called for reinforcement and four police pickup trucks arrived. They dragged Ssekikubo on the tarmac, handcuffed him before they bundled him into one of the vehicles. By this time, a small crowd had gathered shortly before he was carted off to jail.

Ndorwa East MP Winfred Niwagaba told The Observer at Kira police station where several lawmakers and his wife were camped, that Ssekikubo was badly tortured during the arrest. "He was tortured and is in great pain," he said.

Bishop Dr Zac Niringiye, who was present, prayed for Ssekikubo. Niwagaba said a group of MPs had implored the police to allow Ssekikubo to be transferred to a hospital for treatment. Yesterday the lawmaker, who was speaking from his cell, told Niwagaba that those who arrested him said they were going to teach him a lesson.

"You, we are going to deal with you. Why are you fighting the state?" Niwagaba quotes Ssekikubo as saying.

"He was later brought here [Kira police] and dumped in a cell full of faeces," lamented Niwagaba.

In case, he is not arraigned before court within 48 hours, Niwagaba said, they will file a habeas corpus writ to compel police to produce him in court. Buyaga West MP Barnabas Tinkasiimire said Ssekikubo told him he was bundled onto a police pickup as security operatives beat him up.

"The law provides that when you are arrested, you are told the reasons as to why you are being arrested, but up to now we don't know the charges against him," Tinkasiimire said.

Mityana North MP Godfrey Kiwanda said such high-handed acts from the state will only embolden the victims.

"Rebels are either made or they are created. These [arrests] are hardening us; we are now like on training. We are going to become more and more dangerous," Kiwanda said.

Before he was arrested, police had issued criminal summons through the Speaker demanding that Ssekikubo appears for questioning on January 10, 2012. District Police Commander Peter Nkulega had earlier told lawmakers he had orders from above not to allow other people from seeing Ssekikubo, except his wife and his counsels.

MPs Summoned

Police has also issued criminal summons against three other lawmakers for allegedly inciting violence in connection with the controversial death of Nebanda. These include Workers' MP Dr Samuel Lyomoki, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze and Katerera MP Hatwib Katoto. Earlier, Dr Medard Bitekyerezo (Mbarara municipality), who was also wanted, reported to the police and was released on bond. The summonses were issued by the deputy director Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate (CIID), Fred Musana.

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