Police Officers Could Face Dismissal Over Brutality

Denis Odongpiny the chairperson of the disciplinary court says on procedure of court, the accused officers will not be allowed representation by any attorney since the disciplinary court is an administrative court.
Police officers facing trial for allegedly beating supporters of former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye will likely face demotion or dismissal if found guilty.

The four senior officers charged with unlawful exercise of authority and discreditable conduct to Uganda Police Force are ; Wandegeya Division Police commander (DPC) Moses Nanoka, Field Force Unit Commander for Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP), Samuel Bamuzibire; Regional Police Commander (RPC) KMP South, Andrew Kaggwa; and Katwe Police Station Operations Commander, Patrick Muhumuza.

However, Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) Operations commander, ASP James Ruhweza who was in command of the entire operation has not been charged. The Police Act provides that the disciplinary court can only try officers below the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP).

Among those captured on video by the media but have not been charged are Deputy RPC Kampala Metropolitan Police South Geoffrey Kahebwa, RPC Kampala Metropolitan Police East Siraj Balareke, RPC Kampala Metropolitan Police North, Wesley Nganizi and many other junior officers.

According to deputy police spokesperson Polly Namaye, "we have based on video evidence that has been handed to the Inspector General of Police to pick out the defaulters. We requested for the video clips from NBS TV and those we have charged are the ones captured in action."

Kahebwa was seen on local Television shouting orders to junior Field Force officers to beat up people who were standing on the road side.

The trial however starts a week after the IGP Kale Kayihura applauded the officers for their action.

Kayihura only faulted intelligence personnel and crime preventers, who had interfered in the operation centrally to the police operation procedures and asked for the personnel to be investigated.

Polly Namye, now defends Kayihura, saying the IGP praised the officers before watching the video in which people were beaten.

She says after watching the video, the IGP discovered that the actions of the officers were illegal that is why they are been prosecuted.

According to prosecution, the accused acted contrary to Section 44 (11) code 24(b) of the Police Act, which prohibits unlawful exercise of authority. They are also accused of violating Section 44(1) code 12 of the Police Act, which prohibits discreditable or irregular conduct.

The punishments for each of the two charges range from demotion, imprisonment or dismissal from the service.