'Tortured' village chairperson struggles to get justice

Thursday October 14 2021
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Mr Jamiru Walugembe(R) and his lawyers move out-side Masaka Court on October 11, 2021. PHOTO/WILSON KUTAMBA

By Wilson Kutamba

Following tense elections that saw incumbent President Museveni declared winner by the Electoral Commission, mild protests broke out in some parts of the country.

Some many Ugandans opposed electoral outcomes that showed Mr Museveni polled 58 per cent of the total votes cast.

In the aftermaths of the protests, many opposition figures -especially National Unity Platform (NUP) party supporters- were arrested, tortured and some killed as the military and police cracked down on apparent rioters.  

Mr Jamiru Walugembe, the Chairperson of Kimayanya B Cell in Kimanya-Kabonera Division as one of the victims has since sued the Chief of Defence of Forces (CDF), the commandant of the UPDF's Armoured Warfare Training School, Brig Gen Deus Sande, and the Brigade Intelligence Officer, Maj Fred Kasimoni Mushabo together with the Attorney General over torture he suffered in military hands.

Mr Walugembe claims he was allegedly tortured by soldiers at Kassijagirwa UPDF barracks where he was detained for over 7 hours.  

“From my work place in Masaka Town, I was grabbed by gun-wielding men commanded by Maj Mushambo. I was beaten with batons even in the barracks,’’ he told Daily Monitor.

Mr Walugembe who still has visible scars and bruises purportedly obtained after he was tortured expressed disappointment over failed commencement of his case filed in pursuit of justice.  

“I asked the court to grant me compensation for the inhumane and degrading treatment but none of the parties sued has ever made any formal response to the suit filed in February,” he said.

Mr Walugembe who is an opposition supporter denies participating in any election-related protests, arguing that he was simply targeted because of his political affiliation.

“It is the only crime I committed,” he argues.

Mr Isha Alinda, the lawyer who filed the suit for the victim says, they have failed to advocate for a speedy trial which has frustrated the victim.

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He explains that ‘‘the matter had been fixed for hearing at the beginning of October but to their dismay, it was further adjourned for another seven months.’’

"We filed the case in March and court adjourned the hearing to October but it’s again adjourned," he said 
According to Mr Alinda, his client has been ‘‘denied the opportunity of benefiting from the entitlements of a speedy court process as provided for in the constitution.’’

Major Ninsiima Rwemijuma, the UPDF Armored Brigade spokesperson declined to comment on the matter which he says occurred when he was not at the station. 

“I am not aware about those allegations but I will follow up and find out,” he said in a Tuesday telephone interview.

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