The Uganda Human Rights Commission named Uganda police force the topmost human rights violators in the country.
Responding to the report, Fortunate Habyara from the Police Professions Standards Unit said the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) report was welcomed by police.
“It is good to know our shortcomings. While the report ranks the police as number one violator of human rights, it is not as bad as it is being reported,” he said while appearing on NBS TV at the close of last week.
Habyara said a stick is a replica of a baton. A baton and a stick are all sticks maintaining that canes are official policing tools.
“Police gave the officers those canes to manage public order. There has never been an order form above which is illegal. Every officer has a right to reject an unlawful order.”
According to Habyara, civilians who work with the police and break the law can be tried under the Police Act.
“That’s the law. If it is an issue involving the IGP, the Police Standards Unit (PSU) can ask him to respond. However, police court can’t try senior officers like IGP.”
He said they are instead tried by the Police Authority Disciplinary Council.
“Canes are among the tools that police is using now. If they were misused, that is on individuals.”
He recalled that IGP Kale Kayihura commended the officers for preventing people from spilling into the road but reprimanded them for beating them.
At the moment, Kayihura faces 20 lawyers in court over the same issue.
Robert Sempala, the Coordinator Human Rights Network for Journalists, says these reports are important but the biggest problem is that “we rarely see justice being served”.