According to the Judge, due process here means that if Kyagulanyi had any offense that he had committed, he should have been arrested, taken to police and produced to any Magistrates Court to be charged which has not been the case here.
The High Court in Kampala has ordered security forces to vacate NUP President Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu's home in Magere, Wakiso district, where he is restricted with his wife Barbara Itungo.
The outgoing head of the Civil Division of High Court Justice Michael Elubu ruled this morning that the continued restrictions and confinement of the couple at their home is unlawful and infringes on their constitutional right to personal liberty.
The ruling follows an application filed last week by Kyagulanyi's lawyers led by Anthony Wameli, the head of Legal Department at National Unity Platform. The lawyers stated that Kyagulanyi and his wife Barbara have been confined at their home in Magere since January 14, 2021, the day Uganda went to the polls, to elect a President and Members of Parliament. Kyagulanyi came second in the race, behind the incumbent Yoweri Museveni.
But the lawyers argued that the security operatives including police and UPDF have refused to leave the couple’s home and that the commanding officers of the said security agencies have not given any reasons for their actions. The court heard further that the couple has been held illegally and not allowed to access their lawyers, visitors, family or doctors which infringed on their right to liberty.
But the respondents who included the Attorney General, the Chief of Defense Forces and the Inspector General of Police opposed the application arguing that Kyagulanyi previously flouted COVID-19 guidelines and also vowed to make Uganda ungovernable like Libya Iraq and Sudan.
According to an affidavit sworn by the Director of Operations in Uganda Police Force, Edward Ochom, the security forces kept Kyagulanyi at his home to protect the property of the citizens and for his own good.
But Justice Elubu dismissed the defence saying that if the government had serious allegations against Kyagulanyi, they needed to be dealt with by following due process. According to the Judge, due process here means that if Kyagulanyi had any offense that he had committed, he should have been arrested, and produced in court for trial, which was not the case.
"... It is hereby ordered that they are lifted. Consequently, an order for the restoration of the personal liberty of the applicant hereby issues", said Elubu in a ruling read on his behalf by the Civil Division Registrar Jameson Karemani.
The court has also ordered the government to pay Kyagulanyi and his wife costs of the application for the violations of the constitutional rights caused to them. Kyagulanyi's lawyers led by George Musisi have welcomed the decision saying that it implies that the security that has been at Kyagulanyi's home has to vacate immediately.