Ugandans were on Wednesday treated to shocking scenes of police officers caning hapless supporters of Opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, in separate incidents in Kampala
Ugandans were on Wednesday treated to shocking scenes of police officers caning hapless supporters of Opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, in separate incidents in Kampala.
Police chief Kale Kayihura called a press conference at the police headquarters in Naguru on Thursday afternoon and indicated that the beating of civilians, which has been widely condemned by the public and human rights activists, had been sanctioned by the Force’s top command.
Gen Kayihura could not explain how operatives in plain clothes appeared to take the lead in beating unarmed members of the public, saying he had instructed Mr Fortunate Habyara, the commander Professional Standards Unit, to investigate the entire incident where plain clothed men have beaten up citizens during operations.
While the latest police brutality was coordinated and overseen by senior police officers, in command of the plain clothed goons was a man who has since been identified as Dan Tandeka Rwabwere, an ex-guard in Iraq. He is said to have worked as a guard in the green zone installation of Al Anbar province of Iraq, and also at High Occupancy Facilities (DFAQ) and in the escorts department. According to police sources, Mr Tandeka is now a “crime preventer” attached to Entebbe police. He is said to originate from Butembererwa Kenshunga in Kiruhura District.
In the overall command of those seen on the streets ordering or participating in the beating of Dr Besigye’s supporters on Wednesday was Mr James Ruhweza, who hours to the announcement of the February 18 poll results, was appointed by Gen Kayihura as the Kampala Metropolitan Area Operations commander.
Mr Ruhweza became prominent for his active role in suppressing the walk-to-work protests in 2011. He is never shy of making loud orders to his officers and men to reign in the public, for example, on Tuesday, he nearly slapped the Divisional Field Operations commander for Kasangati, Mr Fred Ahimbisibwe, for what he called allowing musician Robert Kyagulanyi, aka, Bobi Wine to make a procession from Dr Besigye’s home on Tuesday.
Some of the stick and gun wielding police officers deployed at at FDC head office at Najjanankumbi
Deputy RPC Kampala South Geoffrey Kaheebwa had his hands full. Outside State House Nakasero, Mr Kaheebwa personally ordered his officers to beat anybody, including journalists trying to follow Dr Besigye. At Mulago roundabout, Mr Kaheebwa commandeered his police patrol pick-up truck to block the road.
Here, he jumped out, and together with his officers, swung into action - beating anybody they could land their hands on. Journalists seated on boda boda motorcycles too were not spared. Mr Kaheebwa’s patrol truck would go on up to Dr Besigye’s home in Kasangati caning people who waved to the former presidential candidate along the way.
Another officer in command during the Entebbe Road beatings was Senior Superintendent of Police Samuel Bamuzibire, the Field Force Unit commander Kampala Metropolitan Area. Unlike his colleagues, Mr Bamuzibire, was holding a hand gun in one hand and a phone in the other as he issued orders.
During Dr Besigye’s recent trial at Kasangati Magistrates Court, Mr Bamuzibire claimed he, like Dr Besigye, was a Colonel but failed to explain when he was tasked to by Dr Besigye’s lawyers. He also acknowledged in court that flashing the “V” FDC sign and making processions were not illegal, despite earlier claims.
Sighted on the scene on Wednesday was Jonathan Baroza, a personal assistant to IGP Kayihura. He has been linked to a group of stick-wielding masked goons dubbed “Team No Sleep”, who have on several occasions terrorised people in Kampala, especially Opposition supporters. He coordinates logistics for the group. He was on Tuesday, according to a source, giving orders to the police officers on what to do. Mr Baroza is among some of the police officers who are currently a subject of an investigation by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) following the controversial February promotion of 496 police officers in which he was made to skip two ranks and promoted to Assistant Commissioner of Police.
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