Thursday April 10 2014

Policeman shot in 2010 with Bebe Cool demands justice

David Oluka narrates his plight

David Oluka narrates his plight to a journalist yesterday. Photo by Faiswal Kasirye 


Kampala- On the night of January 30, 2010, there was a shootout at Effendy’s bar, a popular city hangout in the Centenary Park greenbelt.
It attracted a lot of media attention because it involved reggae artiste, Moses Ssali alias Bebe Cool.
However, one name that remained unmentioned past that night was David Oluka.

On that night, Oluka and his colleague Special Police Constable Alfred Achikane were on patrol at Oasis Mall when they noticed a scuffle.

“We found Bebe Cool and the others causing chaos. Because I was in front, I reached out to the group trying to disperse them; but one of them grabbed my gun, and Bebe Cool grabbed me and tried to use me as a human shield from Achikane, who was shouting ‘I am going to shoot you’. There was a lot shouting back and forth, and a bullet was shot from an AK47,” he narrates.

Bebe Cool and his cronies had run into the Goodlyfe Crew, a music group that has been reported to have bad blood with the artiste, and the chaos erupted.

In the confusion, SPC Alfred Achikane shot Bebe Cool and his two friends, Abbas Kabyobo and Allan Masengere, plus Oluka.

Achikane said he thought they were thieves, an argument that was never bought when the case went to court.
Bebe Cool and his friends are basking in adulation of the incident after they sued government and were last year compensated; Bebe Cool, Shs380 million, Kabyobo Shs80m and Shs25 million for Masengere.

However, for Oluka, who was shot in the leg, it is a tale of exasperation, regret and desolation.

He narrates: “I was taken (by Police) to Mulago hospital where I spent close to a month undergoing treatment…”
“...After two weeks in Mulago, an officer from the Police Welfare department visited me and said there was no money for me to undergo proper surgery, but urged my parents to mobilise the resources they had and that the Police Force would compensate them later.”

He adds, that when he got back to work after a month or so, he then embarked on processing the compensation.
“Every office I went to often referred me to another, and another to the other. It became very frustrating.”

The 29-year-old, says, he gave up trailing the reimbursement in 2012 but the process had left a bad mark on his record.

“When I got back to work, I was not very steady but I could not sit home and wait to fully recover. But each time I felt unsteady, I went to my superiors to ask for leave and it was denied. But they would never give me a reason.”

He says, eventually his pay of about Shs195,000 was suspended in July 2012 to June 2013 because a disciplinary hearing had been instigated against him for among other claims, “continuously absconding duty and being defiant”.

“I asked for leave, to go back and seek medical treatment but was denied. Could I obey orders over my life?” he asks, adding that he started living on handouts from Church members, but after a year in July 2013, his salary was reinstated though it was short-lived.

On 23 September 2013, Charles Birungi, on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, wrote informing him: “Please refer to ‘Professional Standards Unit‘ letter…reporting the absence from unit of the under names SPC without leave.”

“In keeping within the provisions of the Police Act chapter 303 Sec 64, I do hereby give approval for the termination of contract for the under mentioned SPC (s)] with effect….”

The Jinja Road Police Commander, Wesley Nganizi, where Oluka was attached said, he was transferred to the station in 2012 and found the issue on record but referred to the Police headquarters for comment.

Police officials react

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, acknowledged Oluka’s case and retrenchment but said he is “solely to blame”.

“First, he is lying that Police did not foot his medical bills when he was shot. When Bebe Cool went to court demanding for compensation, he also thought he (was entitled to) part of this money and started eluding work,” Onyango explained.

“He started spending most of his time at Church, which is okay, and was AWOL (Absent without official leave). We called and wrote to him several times but in vain. We even told him to come back and we assign him lighter duties but he was looking at the bigger picture of compensation. That’s when he was terminated.”

He added: “but now that he has chosen to come to the media, let’s see how it will end for him and since he is no longer a public servant, he can take on the Court option if he want