Uganda: Nabakooba Committee Summons IGP Kayihura

MPs have summoned police chief Gen Kale Kayihura in the wake of last week's beatings of FDC supporters in Kampala by police.

Kayihura is to appear before the Parliamentary committee on defence and internal affairs as soon as possible. Surprisingly, the committee is chaired by Mityana Woman MP Judith Nabakooba, a former police spokesperson and subordinate of Kayihura.

At its inaugural meeting closed to journalists, the committee resolved to call the police boss to explain why the force has resorted to caning people.

"The committee resolved to postpone all the other activities until Kayihura appears and explains his role in the beatings. The committee needs him [Kayihura] to explain if he was normal at the time he defended the police brutality [at a press conference last Thursday]. How could he speak like that and how did he miss out on the list of those officers defending themselves in court," Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa told The Observer on Tuesday.

Speaking during a hastily-convened press conference last week, Gen Kale Kayihura defended the floggings. He said police had opted for batons and water cannons as tools of choice for dispersing demonstrators instead of tear gas, live and rubber bullets.

But in the same vein the police chief also castigated his senior commanders and ordered an investigation into the conduct of five of them. He was angry that the officers allowed their junior officers free rein to beat up people who came out in big numbers to see or cheer former FDC presidential candidate Besigye last Tuesday and Wednesday.

The commanders under investigation are within the Kampala Metropolitan area, which covers Mukono, Entebbe, Wakiso and Kampala. The commanders under scrutiny appeared alongside Kayihura during the July 14 press conference at Naguru.

But when it came to court, only lowly-ranked officers were arraigned and charged on Monday.

According to Munyagwa, some MPs questioned the impartiality of the committee chair Nabakooba since she is a former police officer. He, however, said Nabakooba promised to be impartial.

Yesterday, Nabakooba told journalists at parliament: "I am not the first person from police or army to chair that committee. The mandate of the chairperson is very clear and the committee will have its powers as spelt out in the parliamentary rules of procedure."

Source: The Observer.

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