Monday March 31 2014

Kayihura summoned over police abuses

Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura (R)

Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura (R) listens to Obongi County MP Hassan Fungaroo (standing L) in an earlier committee session. Gen Kayihura is expected to appear before MPs tomorrow. PHOTO BY GEOFFREY SSERUYANGE  

By Yasiin Mugerwa


In the wake of accusations that police chief Kale Kayihura is running a “lumpen force”, MPs on the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights have summoned him to explain the alleged police abuses tomorrow.
Gen Kayihura is also expected to explain what became of the police investigations into the mass murder of more than 1,000 people in Kanungu District in 2000.

The killings were blamed on the religious cult led by Joseph Kibwetere and others.
While sitting to consider a petition on the inferno victims yesterday, MPs also resolved to meet President Museveni to explain the whereabouts of the Kibwetere report.

The President established a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the massacre but the findings were not made public.
“We want the IGP to explain reports of police abuses. We expected him to appear today (yesterday) on Kibwetere report but failed to show up. For that matter, we are sending him a protest letter asking him to change his behaviour,” Ms Benny Namugwanya (Mubende Woman) said.

Although human rights abuses and the alleged police brutality was not on the agenda, MPs led by Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi (DP, Butambala) demanded that the IGP also be tasked to explain the misuse of the Public Order Management Act. The MPs cited what they called “illegal” blocking of opposition meetings on electoral reforms.

The legislators accused the police of “dancing to the tunes of the ruling party” and keeping a deaf ear when the police under his watch continue to brutalise opposition leaders and other innocent Ugandans - a charge the police spokesperson, Ms Judith Nabakooba denied.
Ms Nabakooba said Gen Kayihura would respond to the summonses, adding that the police force always acted within the confines of the Act in blocking illegal meetings.

“Police respects human rights and we always follow the law. The Public Order Management law is very clear. All organisers of political meetings are expected to follow the procedures. They organise meetings without even communicating to police. This was the case in Mbale, Mbarara and Masaka,” Ms Nabakooba said.

However, she said there was contention on the venue in Kasese District.
On Kibwetere investigations, Ms Nabakooba said she said there was a committee tasked to investigate but noted that she needed time to find out the details.

The background
Ms Jacqueline Mbabazi has become the latest high-profile NRM figure to accuse police of brutality. In an exclusive interview to Sunday Monitor, Ms Mbabazi said she protested to President Museveni after the April 2011 forceful arrest of Dr Kizza Besigye. Gen Kayihura said the allegations were as a result of panic. “Rushing to the media with personal and misguided attacks against the IGP won’t do. I will not go down the unprofessional route of undermining the investigation and court process, by engaging in a public discussion of the merits of a case already before court,” he said.