The Police have issued a strong legal defence arguing that they have the right to investigate political party wrangles.
The Force has come under fire from the public and opposition politicians ever since reports indicated that they were carrying out investigations into the NRM wrangle between the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and President Yoweri Museveni.
This week, opposition political party Presidents demanded for the suspension of the Inspector General of Police General Kale Kayihura over the leaked tapes.
The tapes revealed the IGP was investigating the Prime Minister’s alleged plan to run against President Museveni in the 2016 general elections.
The opposition leaders who have been campaigning for free and fair elections which among other stands condemn the use of state institutions to entrench NRM/Museveni’s stay in power say that the tapes expose Kayihura as a partisan cadre.
Former Forum for Democratic Change party President Kiiza Besigye said that what is heard in the tapes is confirmation that all state institutions have been fused with NRM which is the core problem they are trying to solve in their campaign.
But in a statement, Fred Enanga the Police spokesperson says such statements pertaining to Police investigation of criminality in political parties are being made out of ignorance of the law, and of the standard operating procedures of the Police.
Enanga states that while the police have the legal mandate to proactively investigate criminality in any organization or public body, political parties are not exempt from such inquiry.
The Police spokesperson quotes chapter 12 Sec 212 of the constitution which mandates the police to among other responsibilities prevent and detect crime but also cooperate with civilian authority and other security organs and the population in general and protect the rights of the individuals.
In accordance with the Police Act 1994 which provides for the structure of the police, the IGP is the overall commander of the Uganda police force and shall perform his duties in accordance with the laws of Uganda except in matters of policy the Minister may give directions to the Inspector General of police and the IGP shall comply with those directions.
They further quote the Anti-corruption Act 2009 section 1 which defines a public body to include a political party, a trade union, a society registered under the cooperative societies Act and any council board, committee or society established by an Act of parliament for the benefit, regulation and control of any profession and nongovernmental organisations.
The issue, therefore, of Police interfering in ‘internal matters of a political, is a misleading perception, especially in situations where officials of political parties use their positions to engage in acts that are blatantly criminal; for instance, bribery.
The Police continue to cite cases of interventions within political parties such as the conflict between UPC’s Olara Otunnu and Retired Major James Rurangaranga, DP’s Norbert Mao, Mike Mabike and Nasser Ssebagala. Others include the Forum For democratic Changes wrangle between Dr Kiiza Besigye and Betty Kamya now Uganda Federal Alliance President.
They thus argue that their investigations into such wrangles are standard police work and doctrine which have been misinterpreted as abuse office.
However Asuman Basalirwa, the Justice Forum President, partially concurs saying it is true the police have the right to investigate, but the pertinent question would be to know the complainant in the case.
Basalirwa a lawyer also wonders which crime is being investigated especially in political parties and how far the investigations have gone.
Basalirwa insists the police statement is naïve and diversionary without focusing on the gist of the matter.
He adds that even though the police have the mandate to investigate crime, keep law and order, it is unacceptable and nonsensical to meet some members who oppose the President with financial enticements.