Former Kampala Metropolitan South Regional police commander has said the police high command directed them to use batons on the eve of President Museveni swearing in.
Mr Andrew Kaggwa yesterday told police court that the strategic management of the police on May 11 directed them to use batons to disperse opposition crowds that were expected to disrupt the fifth swearing ceremony of Mr Museveni at Kololo Independence Grounds.
Mr Kaggwa said while presenting his defense submission on the three counts slapped on nine police officers and a crime preventer involved in the beating up civilians on July 12 and 13 at Kalerwe Market and Namasole Road respectively.
Mr Kaggwa said it was inappropriate to charge them with excessive use of force yet they were operating on the directives of police’s highest decision making body.
“Mr Chairman, it is unfair to charge us with excessive use of force yet we were implementing the directive of the strategic management of the police. The order was given to us on the eve of President Museveni swearing in,” Mr Kaggwa said.
Mr Dennis Odongpiny, the court Chairman and his colleagues were forced to calm Mr Kaggwa down and inform him that cross examination is part and partial of court process. “Mr Kaggwa, don’t take cross examination to be personal target. It is part of prosecution process. You should respond to questions even if they are asked repeatedly,” Mr Odongpiny said.
Mr Samuel Bamuzibire, former Kampala Metropolitan Field Force Unit commander, who was equally furious, insisted that the video footage presented by the prosecution witness Mr Fortunate Habyara, the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) commandant, was doctored purposely to sacrifice them for their seniors.
“I don’t know where the video was picked from. How could we rely on the video which does do not show the whole process. Someone who was not on the ground cannot charge us. We request this court to immediately dismiss the video evidence,” Mr Bamuzibire said.
Mr Bamuzibire and Mr Kaggwa tasked court to explain why they are the only senior officers being charged yet their seniors like Mr James Ruhweza, former KMP operations commander and Mr Jonathan Baroza, the Personal Assistant to Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura were part of the operations.
“We were not involved in the process of bringing you to this court. Our role is to hear cases brought to us. We don’t know how you were selected,” Mr Herman Owomugisha told Mr Bamuzibire.
The duo said the batons they used are the current Standard Operations Procedure (SOP) that came into force on May 11. Mr Bamuzibire stunned court when he said the police have several batons such as; big ones from South Africa, long ones from Kenya, short and metallic batons from France.