The family of remanded Soroti District Internal Security Officer (DISO), Steven Nuwagira, who was remanded to prison for shooting dead an electric engineer in Soroti District in December, has accused the government of laxity in handling matters relating to their son.
According to the family Nuwagira has been left to fight the case on his own yet he was acting on behalf of the state when the incident happened.
Mr Nuwagira is said to have shot dead Cedric Kayiwa on December 20, 2022 during a scuffle after the latter reportedly tried to disarm him as he was transporting him (Kayiwa) on a bodaboda following his arrest at Alakara Pork Joint, a hangout spot in Soroti.
The DISO had been tipped off by informers that Kayiwa, a prime suspect in electricity vandalism activities that had rocked the sub region had been spotted drinking at the hangout after allegedly evading arrest for months.
On the fateful night, after arresting Kayiwa, Mr Nuwagira is said to have contacted police for reinforcement and to transport the suspect but there were delays. He reportedly chose to transport the suspect with the aid of a bodaboda motorcyclist. Along the way, Kayiwa allegedly tried to jump off the motorcycle before a scuffle ensued before he was reportedly shot in the leg and later in the stomach after the suspect (Kayiwa) reportedly fought to disarm the DISO, according to security sources.
Nuwagira was after the incident arrested and charged with murder before he was remanded to Soroti prison by grade one magistrate, Mr. Edmund Okiror until the mention of the case on January 20, 2023.
Nuwagira’s elder brother, Mr Emmanuel Karogo told this publication tha the family felt betrayed and let down by the government their son has been serving selflessly because they (government) have left him to spend a number of days in jail and fight on his own yet he was on state duty defending property and life.
“We really feel bad and betrayed. We have been let down by this government because they have not owned the situation that stemmed from our brother working to secure property and life. Ever since Nuwagira was arrested, he has not had the freedom to give his side of the story neither have we made our case,” said Mr Karogo.
According to him, Nuwagira does not have any criminal record.
“He has no criminal record, he is a polite man and he walks away from any wrongdoing. We say he shouldn’t be brutalized in such a manner to an extent of being denied bail. We also feel the state he works for should allow him to give his account of the story. We are demanding that he gets fair hearing. We are letting the law take its course but his voice in this case matters. We would love to have justice dispensed,” Mr Karongo explained.
Mr Nuwagira’s lawyers, Turinawe, Kamba and Co. Advocates told this reporter that police acted irrationally in Nuwagira’s case without doing thorough investigations into the matter. According to Mr Julius Turinawe, thE DISO acted in self-defense to prevent losing both the gun and his life while handling the suspect.
“Even the bodaboda man testifies that the deceased struggled to disarm the DISO and take his gun and that’s why he acted in self-defense. What if the suspect used the gun to shoot both the DISO and the motorcyclist?” Mr Turinawe asked.
Also, commenting on the matter, Mr Kasim Kamba, another defense lawyer in the case said: “We are prepared to take the distance and Nuwagira will come out innocent. We are concerned about his liberty and our duty is to defend him.”
A security source who preferred anonymity told this reporter that Mr Nuwagira’s case was marred with conflict of interest from a senior colleague who piled a lot of negativity.
“Nuwagira has been a nice man. He helped us to fight insecurity and recover guns here. Since April last year, we have had more than four groups terrorizing people here and have been behind electric vandalism but he managed to help. Otherwise, those organized criminal groups would have subdued us.”
“For example, the person he put out of action had been on our wanted list having been coordinating the buying and transportation of electric wires in the Teso area. He has been operating along the Mbale-Soroti- Lira road. The news of his death excited both security and people here,” he said.
When contacted by this reporter on the matter, the Teso Regional Internal Security Officer, Mr Ojok Fred said he was not at liberty to comment on Nuwagira’s case since he is not authorized to do so.
“I am not at liberty to speak to you or give you information on the matter because we are prohibited from speaking to the press or publicizing security matters. I refer you to the Human resource officer. May be he can tell you,” Mr Ojok said.