Kale Kayihura, Uganda’s Inspector General of Police has attributed Police brutality against opposition politicians on the failure by the leaders to respect the law.
The police have recently been involved in clashes with opposition politicians and civil society activists who are on a nation-wide electoral reforms sensitization campaign.
But Kayihura says the police haven’t done anything more or less than enforcing the Public Order Management Act, which was passed by parliament to regulate public gatherings. Kayihura says in places like Masaka, Mbarara, Ishaka and Bushenyi district where the opposition leaders and activists followed the right procedures their meetings went on without any incident.
Kayihura said this while appearing before the defense and internal affairs committee this afternoon. He said in Mbale, the conveners of the rally hadn’t notified police saying their claim to have communicated to the internal affairs Minister General Aronda Nyakairima doesn’t hold because the act requires them to inform police not the minister.
In the case of Soroti, Kayihura said that the meeting could not take place because the police was notified a day before, yet they need ample time to do carry out background checks. He said the conveners of the meeting violated section five of the Act, which requires them to give police three days’ notice. He said that the meeting in Kasese where Democratic Party President Nobert Mao was blocked from holding a rally could not take place because the organizers failed to procure the venue.
Kayihura added that the same reasons forced police to prevent the organizers from using the radio station because the purpose was to use talk shows to mobilize people to attend the meetings, which were illegal. He said that these politicians and activists should be the ones appearing before the committee to explain why in some cases they follow the procedure under the law while in other cases they don’t since it doesn’t arise from the ignorance of the law.
What Kayihura told the committee is contrary to what the opposition leaders have said. On Tuesday, the opposition leaders and civil society activists showed the media copies of the letters they sent notifying police about all of their meetings. Olara Otunnu, the UPC president displayed to the media a February 13th letter, in which he notified General Aronda and Kale Kayihura about their March 24th meetings in Kabale and Kasese.
In their response, the MPs accused Kayihura of violating the law. Regan Okumu, the Aswa county MP asked Kayihura to explain cite the law his officers used to drag Muntu from the Voice of Kigezi Radio studio. He said that it is demeaning for a police constable to handle a person who was an army commander for nine years like a chicken thief and tasked Kayihura to explain why he could not summon them.
Ibrahim Semuju Nganda, the Kyadondo East MP said that there is no excuse for what the police are doing to the opposition political leaders adding that police doesn’t have a right on private media and their owners.