What Is Self Defence?

Some of us if not all, heard and watched the news about how MP Otto was slapped by his fellow MP Okol right inside the house that makes laws, can you imagine!!!? Where he was slapped is shocking because we expect better than that but is none of our business today. Mp Okol claimed Mp Otto abused him, was de-campaigning him and was therefore forced to slap him in ‘self-defence’. For our old friends here, you will notice that its not the first time we shared about self-defence. But for the sake of all our new friends (who we love and welcome) we shall give you a brief on this “self-defense” business. It keeps popping up and we are left with no choice but to share what the law says about it.

Today, we have a different approach though. We are going to provide the definition of self-defence and what court looks at for it to succeed as a defence. Simply put, if all the ingredients below were present when Mp Okol slapped his fellow Mp, then he will not be punished for his actions.


Our courts have defined self-defence to mean the use of force to protect oneself, one’s family or one’s property from a real or threatened attack: So, a person is justified in using a reasonable amount of force in self-defence, if he or she reasonably believes that the danger of bodily harm is imminent and that force is necessary to avoid this danger.

Therefore, every time someone says I did this or that in self-defence, you should always ask yourself a few questions;

1. Was there an attack on that person?

2. Can that person reasonably say they reasonably believed that they were in imminent danger of death or a serious bodily harm?

3. Was the use of force necessary to repel the attack?

4. Was the force used the reasonable amount to necessary to prevent or resist the attack?

So now you know, its your turn to tell us if the slap against MP Otto was self-defense. We shall see you in the afternoon for something on how to evaluate your chances when using this defence.

Source: Barefoot Lawyers- Uganda.

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