In November 2015, the case for using tear-gas, rubber or actual bullets and truncheons against civilians was to be eliminated. That would only have left water cannons.
On July13, 2016, following the release of Kizza Besigye from Luzira Prison, stick-wielding Police attacked and severely beat up innocent civilians who had turned up to cheer their man as he made his way to the FDC headquarters in Najjanakumbi, along Entebbe Road.
The rationale the Police later put out was that the people had threatened public order along Entebbe Highway. Yet it is the role of the Police to institute that order – not by militant action against defenseless civilians.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen. Kale Kayihura applauded the action of the Police, as if he was far removed from having ordered it. Needless to say, this operation was undertaken under the command of the Southern Provincial Commander,
Andrew Kaggwa, who takes his orders from the IGP. In other words Kaggwa could not have undertaken the brutalization of civilians on his own volition. (Or, if he did he should have been arrested.) All this was reported by different sections of the Press – this was and is their duty.
Now, Kayihura is vilifying the Press that they are against him and want to bring him down. It must also be said that the same Press has quoted the politicians who have uttered that Kayihura should, either resign or be fired, for being the commander of the brutal Police. For this, Kayihura has singled the Monitor newspaper for being “corrupt” and that it should be taken to court.
The beauty of freedom of expression is that people can say almost anything they want to say subject to their awareness that what they say can be actionable in a court of law. Why doesn’t Kayihura, himself, take the paper to court, instead of calling upon some other people to do it?
Kayihura wants to further change laws in this country against the Press, for what he terms, “negative reporting”. With all due diligence, how is a press person (for instance, a cameraman) going to positively portray a Policeman beating up an innocent civilian with a handily-made stick? Can Kayihura demonstrate how this can be done?
This is a discussion about Press freedom. The same Kayihura who is accusing the Press of putting him in a bad light, does not criticize the Press for reporting his vilification of itself. It is clear that these are the people who want to have biased reporting in their favour, even when they do things contrary to the same laws that they are supposed to uphold.
This is the essence of dictatorship. And again they are the same people, when it suits them, who shout loudest about the practice of democracy.
How does Kayihura want us to reconcile this? If he carried out this action, contrary to Museveni’s orders as Commander-in-Chief, as indicated by what Museveni himself said in 2015, and then in a situation of law and order, Kayihura should at least have been reprimanded and suspended pending a probe into his conduct and failure to carry out orders.
It has left two individuals, and perhaps many others will come, who have sued the Government (the Attorney General); and in this case, Kayiuhura, in his personal and official capacity as the Police Chief. It means that they have lost confidence in the administration of constitutional order to remedy their case.
The defense of people like the minister of State for Internal Affairs, Obiga Kania, for the Police brutality can be market down as their mere appreciation and thanks for having been appointed ministers. But even then, the consternation of people like the Woman MP for Soroti District, Angelline Osege, is valid when she questions whether Kayihura had taken a re-orientation course from military to Police duties.
These contradictory positions by the people in authority show a certain level of tongue-in-cheek, double-talk machinations that actually mask their real intentions of traducing constitutional order in order of strong-arm behaviuor, contrary to the dictates of democratic practice.