Ex-UPDF Officer to Sue Over Reforms Conference

A retired UPDF officer has threatened to sue the Uganda National NGO Forum (NGOF) if it does not withdraw the resolutions of the recent electoral reforms conference held at Hotel Africana.

In a November 28 notice, Fred Mpangaza Arinaitwe, through RM Ruhinda Aocates amp Solicitors, gave NGOF Executive Director Richard Ssewakiryanga up to December 27 to comply. He also wants NGOF to apologise to Ugandans through national media for involving the forum in an illegality.

NGOF was the principal organiser of the conference from November 24 to 26. Among the reforms which organisers want Parliament to consider include the disbandment of the current Electoral Commission (EC) and a change in the manner of appointing new commissioners and staff.

“Our client contends that the views of the participants at the conference do not represent the general consensus of Ugandans since no single referendum was ever conducted for the purpose,”says the notice, copied to the speaker of Parliament, the attorney general, and EC chairperson, among others.

Arinaitwe’s lawyers claim that the proposals threaten the independence of Parliament and the rule of law.


However, Ssewakiryanga aised Arinaitwe not to waste his energy and resources because there was nothing illegal about the conference.

“The Justice minister called for proposals from all concerned parties and NGOF with other partners called those who wished to attend the conference and there was no law that particular persons should be invited. Parliament will deliberate on these proposals and see what is better for our country,” Sewakiryanga said.

Livingstone Sewanyana, the executive director of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, also scoffed at Arinaitwe’s notice.

“Arinaitwe’s threats can be best compared to a misguided missile with no cause of action because as citizens have a discussion on how they should be governed civil organisations are entitled to carry out any cause of action. As a doctor in law, I am happy to meet him in court,” Sewanyana said.

Arinaitwe was among the 15 UPDF officers who were late last month retired from the army by President Museveni. Before his recent retirement, Arinaitwe had instituted two separate civil cases against the ruling NRM government for illegal arrest, confiscation of his merchandise and refusing to either promote or retire him.

Arinaitwe was a member of Museveni’s war struggle in Fronasa from Monduri in Tanzania in the 1970s. He also served in various capacities in the army including being a member of the General Court Martial for eight years and working with Brig Elly Kayanja in the Wembley operations in which armed criminals were supposed to be shot on sight.

Source : The Observer

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