What you need to know:
His comments came shortly after Mr Nsubuga Nsambu, the deputy Buganda Katikkiro, in a statement to this newspaper, faulted the deployment of soldiers to disperse kingdom subjects mourning the burning of the mausoleum of their former kings.
The statutory rights body has condemned the killing of three civilians allegedly by security forces at Kasubi tombs and called for a ban on non-uniformed individuals to wield guns.
Mr Med Kaggwa, chairman of Uganda Human Rights Commission, said gun-toting operatives in civilian outfits find it easy to commit crimes, knowing they will neither be identified nor traced. “This disturbs us a great deal because when an incident happens, as indeed it happened [on Wednesday], you cannot tell if the person is a security operative or a state enemy,” he said on Thursday.
At least seven people were shot when the military dispersed a rowdy crowd ahead of President Museveni’s tour of the crypt of Buganda kings, razed by fire on Tuesday.
The Defence Spokesman, Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, said however, that the soldiers “acted in self-defence” and non-uniformed officers deployed in Kasubi were for VIP protection. “They were under close command and supervision, which makes it possible to know who shot,” he said, before announcing one suspect has been arrested over the fatal shootings.
“[The VIP escorts] don’t wear uniforms in order to mix freely with civilians. They should not be showing their guns unless there is an emergency, which was the case at Kasubi. That’s our standard operating procedure.”
Apart from Police and the UPDF, the state runs many semi-autonomous outfits such as the External and Internal Security Organisations, Joint Anti-Terrorism Taskforce, Popular Intelligence Network and Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence which often confuse the public when all congregate at chaotic scenes.
Earlier, Mr Kaggwa put government on notice for employing lethal force in crowd control, saying it violates citizens’ right to life. “Bullets should not be used because they take away life,” he said, “As Uganda Human Rights Commission, anything causing death is of concern to us. We would like to see life preserved.” He suggested rubber bullets and water cannons be used in managing public disorder.
His comments came shortly after Mr Nsubuga Nsambu, the deputy Buganda Katikkiro, in a statement to this newspaper, faulted the deployment of soldiers to disperse kingdom subjects mourning the burning of the mausoleum of their former kings. “That’s why we say that Buganda is under occupation and oppression. We don’t refuse visitors and sympathisers to come, but they should be cultured when they come [to Kasubi],” the statement read in part.
The UHRC boss warned activists against seeking to cause violence, stressing that “no right is absolute and every right carries with it responsibilities that go hand-in-hand”.
While empathising with Mengo over the loss of a rich heritage, listed by UNESCO as a protected site, Mr Kaggwa appealed for calm to enable state functionaries establish the cause of the hitherto mysterious blaze. Mr Kaggwa asked the police to standardise their uniforms because the public gets confused when they see officers dressed in attires of various hues such as black, grey (Khaki), white and blue.