A lawyer has gone to court seeking the release of Ugandan MP Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, who has been detained in a military prison.
The Kyaddondo East MP was charged with treason in an army court together with others before they were detained.
In his petition, Lawyer Male Mabirizi contends that Section 119 (1) (g) of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Act, 2005 that subjects civilians to martial law on mere basis of possessing firearms, which are a monopoly of the army, contravenes the Constitution.
He has petitioned the Constitutional Court to order for the immediate release of the MP.
“The actions of UPDF to charge Hon Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine before the General Court Martial sitting at Gulu UPDF 4th Division headquarters as a person subject to military law with an offence under Section 119 (1) (h) of the UPDF Act, are inconsistent with Articles 8A, 20 (1), 20 (2), 21 (1), 22 (1), 28 (1), 44 (c), 126 (1), 128 (1), 128 (2), 129 & 210 of the Constitution,” Mr Mabirizi states.
The constitutional petition comes barely a week after MP Bobi Wine was charged before the military court in Gulu with unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunitions.
The MP was violently arrested from Pacific Hotel in Arua Town on August 13.
He had been in Arua with several other opposition MPs to campaign in the Arua Municipality parliamentary by-election on August 15.
The police allege that they found him with a sub-machine gun and ammunitions, which are ordinarily a monopoly of the defence forces.
His arrest came during the chaotic final campaigns for the Arua Municipality seat.
Other MPs who were picked with Bobi Wine are Arua Municipality MP-elect Kassiano Wadri, Paul Mwiru (Jinja East), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality) and former Makindye East MP Mike Mabikke.
They were charged with treason in a civil court in Gulu and remanded at Gulu Prison until August 30 when their case will be mentioned.
Bobi Wine is currently remanded at Makindye military barracks after being airlifted from Gulu on August 16.
He is expected back in the army court on Thursday.
In his petition, Mr Mabirizi also blames Parliament for enacting laws that subject civilians to the jurisdiction of the military court.
“In contravention of Article 120 of the constitution, Parliament enacted Sections 119 (1) (g), 119 (1) (h), 161 (1) (a), (b) & c, and 161 (4) of the UPDF Act 2005 making non-members of the UPDF to be subject to the disciplinary and criminal code of members of UPDF, which is unconstitutional,” his petition states.
Mr Mabirizi also argues that civilians who compete for political space with the commander-in-chief of the UPDF, in the current formation, are at risk of being framed with charges making them subject to military law and tribunals which are neither impartial nor independent, but with powers to sentence such politicians to death or life imprisonment.