Uganda: How Pressure Forced Kayihura to Surrender Commanders

Police chief Gen Kale Kayihura was literally forced to 'surrender' his commanders who sanctioned the beatings of Dr Kizza Besigye's supporters in Kampala to face trial before a police disciplinary court on Wednesday, sources have told The Observer.

Our sources told us that initially Kayihura had objected to their trial much as he had okayed an investigation into their conduct last week when their juniors beat up supporters of Dr Kizza Besigye and bystanders. But pressure from officials in government forced Kayihura to yield.

Sources told us that after the police chief defended the actions of his commanders at a press conference last week, he expected senior government officials to support him. They did not.

In fact the state minister for Internal Affairs, Obiga Kania, said last week at the pass out of police officers at Bwebajja that the police force was generally disciplined save for a few bad commanders. We have now been told that Kania met Kayihura on Tuesday this week seeking an explanation about the events of last week.

Sources said during the meeting, the minister reportedly told Kayihura that he cannot defend commanders who ordered the beatings. Our sources said Kania asked Kayihura to charge the commanders individually.

We have been told that after this meeting, Kayihura instructed the Professional Standards Unit to charge the commanders. Kania was expected to deliver a statement on police brutality in parliament yesterday.

The senior commanders who were eventually charged on Wednesday are: Andrew Kaggwa, the regional police commander for Kampala-east; Samuel Bamuzibire, the field force police commander for Kampala Metropolitan; Moses Nanoka, the divisional police commander for Wandegeya; and Patrick Muhumuza, the field force police commander for Katwe police station.

The four officers were charged with two counts of unlawful or unnecessary excessive use of authority contrary to the Police Act and discreditable or irregular conduct. They denied the charges and were released on police bond pending investigations.

Other senior commanders who recorded statements but have not yet been charged are James Ruhweza, the head of operations Kampala Metropolitan and Aaron Baguma, the division police commander for Central police station (CPS).

In Naguru on Wednesday, the state prosecutor Catherine Tushemerirwe said more officers will soon appear before the disciplinary court. Meanwhile, sources told us that Kayihura met some NRM MPs at police headquarters in Naguru yesterday. By press time we could not get the details of what transpired in the closed-door meeting which lasted for two hours.

Source: The Observer.