Don Wanyama, President Yoweri Museveni’s Senior Presidential Press Secretary, says there are still good police officers although some are on the spot for beating Ugandans.
Don was appearing on the Media Round Table alongside NBS television reporters Solomon Serwanjja and Sulaiman Kakaire at the close of last week.
The morning show host Simon Kaggwa Njala suggested that media shouldn’t allow IGP Kale Kayihura to get away with the claim that “we gave a lopsided story”.
“What evidence does police have?” Njala asked, reiterating Kayihura’s claim that media has been compromised by opposition hence reporting only parts where police is beating people.
Don, on the other hand, said incidents of police brutality are isolated incidents.
“There are many good officers,” Don pointed out, saying there are those who obviously plan to provoke police.
“That is planned in opposition meetings,” he suggested asking media to probe the incidents further.
Appearing on the same TV, Morrison Rwakakamba, a Senior Presidential Advisor on Research, said these are mistakes of individual officers.
“Brutality is not an institutionalised policy. Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has tasked the Internal Affairs Ministry to investigate these incidents.”
Rwakakamba said individual actions of errant officers should be investigated by the Police Professional Unit.
Isabella Akiteng, a Human Rights Activist, says Uganda has reached a point where citizens should focus on individual security.
“You cannot bring in militia to beat citizens because they belong to a multi-party dispensation,” she advised.
Dr Livingstone Ssewanyana, the Executive Director foundation for Human Rights Initiative, said civil society continues to condemn police brutality.
“Caning is a primitive way of policing in Uganda. There is no justification for anyone to be beaten today. There are other more civilised ways of policing,” Ssewanyana said.
He pointed out that what was witnessed last week is abuse of authority.
“The citizens were not armed in any way. There was no justification for the force police used.”
He asked the errant officers be dealt with.
“We are in the process of initiating legal action against them. Police needs to go back to the drawing board and resolve to deal with errant officers.”
Ssewanyana agreed self-defense is permissible but it has to be proportionate.
“Should people use ‘self-defense’ to protect themselves from errant police officers?”