23 May 2019

Uganda: Bobi Wine Roots for Police, Army Welfare

Kampala — Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, aka Bobi Wine, has notified Parliament of his impending motion seeking better pay for police and army.

Addressing Parliament yesterday, Bobi Wine decried the poor remuneration of the police, especially the lower ranks, saying it could be one of the reasons they are brutal while on duty.

"Having interacted with our security officers, I have come to realise that many work under unfavourable conditions; they are underpaid, poorly accommodated and they experience so much injustice and unfair treatment," he said.

"I want us to remember that they are also humans like us, with families to look after and we should consider their plight as a matter of priority," he added.

The plan

The lawmaker said he is considering to present a substantive motion for improvement of welfare of "our men and women in uniform" and asked his fellow MPs to support the move.

"I believe when we treat them right, we shall have the moral authority to demand them to treat us right," he submitted.

Bobi Wine was making a personal statement in which he detailed different incidents where he has suffered the brunt of police brutality.

On many occasions, police and the army have blocked the musician turned politician's meetings or music concerts often with brutality involving gunfire and tear gas.

Last year, during the Arua Parliamentary by-election campaigns, Bobi Wine was allegedly beaten by police and military, accusing him and other Opposition politicians of stoning President Museveni's official vehicle. They have since been charged with treason.

On Easter Monday, police and the army blocked Bobi Wine's music concerts at his One Love Beach in Busabala, Wakiso and the successive music shows in West Nile and northern Uganda.

He told Parliament yesterday that such cruelty has subjected him to both physical and psychological torture.

"These violations have unduly affected my ability to carry out my duties both as a Member of Parliament and personally as a citizen of this country," he said.

He further stated that whereas Parliament in November 2018 issued a directive prohibiting police and sister security organs from blocking his concerts, they have ignored the resolution.

Besides, Bobi Wine said, avenues to seek legal redress have all fallen on deaf ears. He implored Parliament to use its position in the governance structure to ensure rule of law, warning that silence will only breed impunity and unpredictable climax.

"As far as I know, Mr Speaker, the Constitution is the supreme law of this country and I think time has come for this Parliament to decide whether to follow the Constitution and the laws of this country or follow orders from above," he said.

He added: "I would like to implore all of you not to look the other side while the rights and freedoms of Ugandans are being violated; experience has shown us that when you sit back and watch as violations go unchallenged, each one of us will one day be a victim."

Under the salary structure for the Uganda Police Force and the army, lower rank officers earn about Shs400,000 and high ranking officers get about Shs2.5m per month.

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