KAMPALA – Opposition lynchpin Dr Kizza Besigye has lashed out at police and other security agencies for their bad record on human rights violations in the face of the ongoing controversy over the death of artiste Michael Kalinda, aka Zigy Wyne.
According to Dr Besigye, the police and other security agencies will never be trusted by a bigger section of the public and particularly, the opposition, given the various lies and instances of torture against the members of the public.
“Whoever suspects the NRM/M7 Junta Security organs to commit crimes and deny would be justified because for decades, that has been their mode of operation. On many instances, they’ve been exposed but they very rarely apologise,” said Dr Besigye in a statement on Friday evening.
The four-time presidential candidate listed examples in which the police have denied torturing civilians only for them to be vindicated by evidence.
“When I was charged with rape (among other capital offences) in 2005, the Director of Criminal Investigations Department (CID), ACP Elizabeth Kutesa, confessed, under oath, to have deliberately falsified police records and bribed witnesses to incriminate me. Uanda Police has never apologised to me up to now. Instead, they helped the criminal to get a job in Interpol abroad,” he wrote.
“More recently, Mr Godfrey Byamukama, a “Mayor” of Kamwenge Town Council, was arrested and very badly tortured. Horrifying images of him appeared in the press, as he underwent treatment in hospital. On 11th May 2017, AIGP Asan Kasingye (then a Police Spokesperson), denied that Byamukama was tortured. He said that he was injured during a struggle with the arresting officers,” he added.
Dr Besigye gave examples of the torture suffered by Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake and his Kyadondo East counterpart Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine in Arua last year.
“When Hon Zaake was arrested and tortured to near death in Arua on 13th Aug 2018, the Police said that he had escaped from detention at a hospital! They charged him for escaping from “lawful custody”! This charge has since been dismissed with the contempt it attracted,” he said.
“Similarly, Police exhibited items, including 2 AK47 guns and a pistol with 8 bullets, they claimed were found in Hon Kyagulanyi’s hotel room after he was brutally arrested. Later, they shamelessly and without apology retracted,” he added.
Dr Besigye also alluded to the recent incident involving the death of Richard Ssebulime.
“Even more recently, when Ronald Ssebulime was executed by policemen after being handcuffed, the Police Spokesperson issued a statement on 24th March 2019, saying Ssebulime was shot during a pursuit as he dangerously threatened Hon Nantaba! Three days later they retracted their statement and the murderers were arrested. Nothing has been heard of that case since,” he said.
Dr Besigye’s remarks come in the aftermath of the accusations and counteraccusations by police and People Power supporters over the death of Zigy Wyne. While People Power accuse police of torturing him to death, police say he died of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
But Dr Besigye said no one should, therefore, be blamed when they accuse police of torturing civilians.
“The Uganda Police Force has a huge credibility problem. Hardly anyone will offer them a benefit of doubt when they’re accused of persecuting, torturing or killing the people they’re supposed to defend. We assume the UPF to be guilty as accused unless exhaustively proved otherwise! It’s incumbent upon the police to change this image through their actions,” he said.
“We assume the UPF to be guilty as accused unless exhaustively proved otherwise! It’s incumbent upon the police to change this image through their actions. A lot of money has been spent on trying to sanitise UPF’s image, in vain. This will not change unless the role of Uganda Police Force fundamentally changes- from protecting the regime and it’s cronies to protecting the people of Uganda,” he said.
Dr Besigye also denied authoring a letter that seemed to be suggesting that he is demanding for answers from People Power on the handling of the Zigy Wyne saga.
“I certainly don’t support people that deliberately publish or promote FAKE NEWS, whoever they are. The attached letter, purportedly written by me, is fake and betrays it’s intention,” he added.