Geoffrey Byamukama who was tortured at Nalufenya (Online photo)
Until their own, Geoffrey Byamukama, surfaced with scarred and bleeding knees, an outrageous example of Police/ISO /CMI torture, the Government had paid no attention to the cries of other tortured suspects, in the case of the murdered Andrew Felix Kaweesi. Then, suddenly everybody, who is somebody, jumps up and takes a keen interest in the issue of this criminality by the security agencies.
First of all, security agencies are all dancing around the murder of Kaweesi. So far, probably up to a hundred people have been arrested in connection with the murder. It is not possible that all these people have been involved in the murder of former IGP Kaweesi.
It is an indication of trying a cover-up and laying blame elsewhere. A recent media report puts its finger on the matter – as a problem of sharing stolen loot by those concerned. So why, blame other people; and carry out a pretense? Since it appears too embarrassing to name the real killers, Government should merely keep quiet; and let the issue rest.
Secondly, the people in Government and security agencies know full-well that there is a law – the Prevention of Torture Act 2012, which prevents anybody from carrying out torture on a suspect. Five years later, it is hypocritical to come up, as the Police chiefs are now implying, that the perpetrators, who are their colleague Police officers, will now be paraded before the public (press).
This admission may hide another insincerity. That, these people will indeed be shown, identified, then with a lot of fanfare, be seen to be either “tried”, or “dismissed” and then, when no one is looking or following the issue any longer, will be either promoted, sent to courses abroad and simply be hidden with acclamation from public view. This will not be the first case; it has happened before!
This hullabaloo is disfiguring another situation. If the Government promulgated the anti-torture law those many years ago, it should have disbanded the torture houses that are known to be littered in Kampala. For instance, it is known that people are tortured in houses in Kisugu, Kololo, near the Police Officer’s Mess, Kireka Barracks and then, Nalufenya Police Station. The latter has now become the main center of torture for innocent people away from the prying eyes of the Kampala city, where the press is most active.
That explains why Government laid out an exemplary press conference about security and the press. The significance of this cannot be missed: the idea is to put blame on press for reporting the crimes committed by the Government elements pretending that the issue is about national security, and therefore should not be reported.
Political leaders as well as civil servants in security and armed agencies cannot keep denying torture forever. They must come out to face the truth. If they do not want to tell the people the truth about the Kaweesi murder, at least they should take responsibility and seriously implement the Anti- torture Law; and all other laws in need of similar treatment.