Uganda Police have come out to clear the air on the events that led to the recent arrest of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s supporters, accused of torching property belonging to a President Museveni 5th term fanatic, Mr Benson Karabareme in Kanungu.
The Force described as “clearly mistaken,” Mbabazi’s assertion that his people were deliberately being targeted on political grounds.
The Premier on Wednesday took to the floor of parliament and accused police of violating people’s rights instead of protecting them.
He expressed shock that Police boss Gen Kale Kayihura stormed his constituency and ordered the arrest of four individuals “who are close to me.”
Speaking in Kanungu District over the weekend, Kayihura said he would “leave no stone unturned” in investigating the masterminds of the inferno.
Kayihura further revealed he was under instructions from President Museveni who received a complaint that his supporter had come under attack.
A one Nuwagaba Aziz was on July 16 arrested and charged with arson on Karabareme’s amusement park, days after he had handed a “Sole Candidate” artefact to president Museveni, when the latter visited the area.
Three other suspects, according to police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, were also arrested in connection with the felony, but were granted court bail and freed.
The Primary suspect, Nuwagaba, however, Enanga said, was rearrested outside court for re-investigation on allegations of giving false information while recording his confession statement at the Police. He is currently detained at the Special Investigation Division at Kireka pending outcome of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ legal opinion.
Enanga, however, noted with concern on Wednesday that “some people including the Hon. Prime Minister have expressed concern over the incident clearly mistaking the action as an act of Human Rights violation.”
“It should be noted that the Police has a duty to observe and respect Human Rights and freedoms in the performance of its functions,” he noted in a statement.”
Prime Minister Mbabazi maintained the arrests were politically driven, and he swore not to allow Police continue rounding up his supporters in that fashion.
“I am aware that the IGP visited my constituency and people were arrested;” said Mbabazi, adding, “it happens that the people who were arrested are close to me.”
“I am taking serious measures to make sure that the rights of our people are not being violated by those supposed to protect them,” vowed Mbabazi.
“The police should be careful in the way the carry out their arrests,” he added.
In response to the PM, Enanga wondered why the three other suspects, Ali Rugomwa; David Turyatemba; and Drake Atukunda were not rearrested if it was politics at play.
He further observed that Nuwagaba was re-arrested to allow police establish his home of origin and relatives for ease of trace in case he jumped bail since he was not from Kanungu.
“The Police action was an investigative strategy enabled to exploit the earliest opportunity to gather evidence and to establish the suspects’ fixed place of aboard since he was not a resident of Kanungu,” he noted.
“The actions of the Police were therefore, necessary and legitimate in the defence of Law and Order, and the detection and prevention of crime within Uganda. It will not compromise any such mandate to protect the security interests of all Ugandans at whatever cost.”
The four suspects will be back in court next month on 21st when police investigations are expected to have ended for the hearing to proceed.