KAMPALA. Court has sanctioned criminal summons to the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, and other senior officers over the police brutality against civilians and supporters of Opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye.
The summons are a result of criminal proceedings filed against Gen Kayihura and other senior police officers by private lawyers under a private prosecution process.
The private criminal proceedings were instituted in Makindye Chief magistrate’s Court by two law firms Lukwago & Co Advocates and Namugali & Walyemera Co Advocates on Thursday.
The law firms are part of the civil political rights working group comprised of individual lawyers, law firms and civil society, whose objective is to handle public interest cases on behalf of aggrieved poor and ignorant public.
According to the charge sheet the Sunday Monitor has seen, the eight implicated senior police officers are indicted with the offence of torture contrary to sections 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012.
The other police officers facing private criminal prosecution are; Andrew Kaggwa (Kampala South Regional commander), James Ruhweza (head of operations, Kampala Metropolitan), Samuel Bamuziibire, (Kampala Metropolitan Field Force Unit commander), Patrick Muhumuza, (operations commander of Field Force Unit, Kampala Metropolitan South), Wesley Nganizi, (Regional police commander, Kampala North), Geoffrey Kaheebwa (Deputy Regional Police Commander, Kampala South) and Moses Nanoka (Wandegeya Division police commander).
By Friday evening, the case file had been received by Makindye Chief Magistrate’s Court and criminal summons to Kayihura and his senior officers had been signed for them to appear before the court but the date for appearance was not readily set.
However, by close of court business on Friday, court had not yet fixed the hearing date for the application that is required to allow private lawyers to prosecute a criminal matter.
Normally, prosecution of criminal matters is the mandate of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
According to the charge sheet, it’s alleged that Gen Kayihura and his aforementioned senior officers and other police commanders still at large, being superior officers of the Uganda Police Force, in various places in and around Kampala, between 2011 and 2016 but most notably on 13/07/2016 and 14/07/2016, are liable for the acts of torture committed against Joseph Kaddu, Andrew Ssebitosi, Rogers Ddiba, and other members of the general public including boda boda riders and supporters of Dr Besigye.
The common practice in privately instituted criminal proceedings is that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who is mandated to prosecute all criminal cases in the country, invokes Article 120 of the Constitution to take over the such proceedings.
The private criminal proceedings followed another move by two victims of the same police brutality at Busabala Road junction who instituted civil proceedings against Gen Kayihura and majority of the implicated senior commanders.
The two victims, Mr Ronald Muhereza and Mr Michael Nyesiga, are seeking compensation of Shs50m each for torture, loss of their bikes, work and being humiliated.
This week, some of the officers and commanders named above and other junior officers were arraigned in the police disciplinary court at Naguru and charged with use of excessive force in dispersing Dr Besigye’s supporters in Najjanankumbi and Kalerwe on separate incidents between July 12 and July 13.
Kayihura applauds beatings
On July 13 police besieged boda boda riders at Busabala Road junction in Najjanankumbi before they descended on them and beat them up with sticks similar to the ones used to herd cattle.
The cyclists were following Dr Besigye who was heading to his FDC party headquarters in Najjanankumbi, a day after he was released on bail in the treason case.
Gen Kayihura later publicly applauded the officers for the beatings. He particularly applauded Mr Kaggwa and his team for stopping the crowds from ‘spilling over’ to the busy Kampala-Entebbe highway to disrupt traffic.
Gen Kayihura further revealed that the caning of curious supporters of Dr Besigye had been sanctioned by the police management as a replacement for tear gas and bullets to disperse crowds.
In in a special sitting on Thursday, Parliament saw both the Opposition and ruling party MPs condemn the police brutality against civilians and Besigye supporters.