By our reporter
It is more than two weeks since police decided to use Mukono Municipality MP as a scapegoat in the aftermath of Arua MP Ibrahim Abiriga’s death. Like many Ugandans, Betty Nambooze mourned Abiriga on social media using words that most expressed her thoughts and reflections at the time. Police slapped on her charges of misuse of computers and offensive communication.
Nambooze’s undoing is being a big name politician who does not shy away from professing how she despises the ruling elite. She rarely posts flattering things about President Museveni’s leadership and therefore no one would expect her to praise Abiriga, even in death.
It was therefore misplaced anger to cause arrest of Nambooze because of her social media posts. And she is now a prisoner of conscience.
Below are lessons from Nambooze’s arrest, illegal detention, and abuse of her rights.
- This country needs more than prayers
By the time Police arrested Nambooze, it was clear the people who killed Abiriga were hardcore murderers who needed to be pursued with precision focus. However, Abiriga must be turning in his grave, as his death has been shrouded in this Nambooze controversy as her arrest has removed eyes and ears from Abiriga to the abuses Nambooze is undergoing. No serious suspect has been reported arrested in relation to Abiriga’s death, and if there is one, then, no one even believes that suspect is genuine, as the investigations has been bastardized and abused to settle political scores with the Mukono legislator. If the country can be showed a social media post in the place of Abiriga’s killers, we are sorry, everyone is on their own.
- The president’s idea is law
Nambooze got police bond before she was deceptively recalled to police the next day. President Museveni had pronounced himself on who gets bail or bond during his security address to Parliament. Police chose to cancel bond of a woman due for a risky medical review out of the country, simply because the president has warned that no one should get bail. Even as you read this post, many suspects are getting bond from police across the country but, why is it Nambooze only not getting her right? The answer is clear…the president has not said she should be released. That is why even when the Uganda Human Rights Commission asked IGP Ochola Okoth to release unconditionally the bedridden MP, still nothing happened. Nambooze is Museveni’s prisoner.
- Don’t get excited about IGP Ochola
So many people wrote great reviews on how police Chief Martin Okoth Ochola was going to clean the image of the police. He was even renamed OMO after initials in his name. However, what do you make of a police chief that ignores the recommendations of the Uganda Human Rights Commission? What do you make of the police chief that ignores the 48 hours for a high profile suspect in detention? What do you make of the IGP who listens to the president’s word on arrest and follow it to the letter? Etc. Ochola has failed the test. Anything else he does is for a show. He has failed to rise up to the highest occasion when he needed to act professionally.
- Your health doesn’t matter
Gone are days a citizen got a special consideration even before the law, as long as they were ill. Ugandans have always complained about no medical supplies in health centres. Courts would release anyone who proves health complications, such as Nambooze. And doctors would act professionally to make referrals when they fail to handle the situation. Now that the health bosses had insisted they could handle Nambooze’s situation when they knew they couldn’t, there is no reason to believe our health system is not compromised.