Wednesday April 16 2014

Witness defends Besigye campaign guards

By Hudson Apunyo

A witness has exonerated Dr Kizza Besigye’s former police escorts of accusation of assault.
Mr Daniel Namaasa, Mr Simon Kafeero and Mr Patrick Mutai were Dr Besigye’s escorts in 2011 during the presidential elections.
They were attached to the Anti-Terrorism Unit and resident at Naguru Police Barracks in Kampala.

They were arrested together with Aloi Sub-county FDC chairperson Martin Adoko and charged with assaulting the Aloi Sub-county NRM chairperson, Mr Francis Owino.

When their case came up for further hearing last week, Mr Francis Tumwekwasize, a journalist, said the three police officers rushed to the scene to stop violence but did not assault Mr Owino.
He replayed a video recording of the events at the scene showing the trio rescuing Mr Owino from a mob. Court also heard that the policemen took the NRM sub-county chairperson to Aloi Police Station for safety.
“We were at a campaign rally at Aloi Corner. That place was to have the first rally at 10am. As we arrived at the venue, we [journalists] were tipped that there were some NRM members who were trying to sabotage Besigye’s rally,” Mr Tumwekwasize said.

NRM sub-county chairman accused
The witness said he and other journalists went about 100 metres away from the campaign venue and found Mr Owino dishing out money to a group of people.

Mr Tumwekwasize said when they inquired from Mr Owino what was happening, he tried to grab his camera.
“I realised I was in danger and tried to hold my camera. As the scuffle ensued, my camera was moving and recording the scene. The accused police officers were called to rescue the situation which was so chaotic,” he said.

The video footage shows the officers putting Mr Owino in a vehicle and taking him away to safety.
However, the prosecution had opposed the tendering of the video footage as defence evidence, saying it was doctored.
However, the trial Chief Magistrate, Mr John Francis Kaggwa, overruled the objection and admitted the video as evidence.
The case has dragged on since 2011 due to frequent adjournments.