KAMPALA – The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Spokesperson Semujju Nganda has said that as the party they hold President Yoweri Museveni responsible security brutality against Ugandans.
In a Monday, April 6 statement, Ssemujju said that Museveni “has been an advocate of brutality and publicly praising officers such as Gen. Kale Kayihura for brutalizing his opponents. This is how he has trained both Police and UPDF unfortunately. Isn’t this how they have treated the opposition for this long?”
“We are saddened but of course not surprised by the conduct of our security personnel especially during the hours of curfew (night). We have watched on televisions scores of uniformed personnel both Police and the army battering citizens and raiding homes in the name of the curfew,” he added.
Security agencies have recently been accused of torturing Ugandans in the name of implementing presidential directives on measures to fight against coronavirus.
Some of the victims are the women who were on Friday, April 3 rounded up in a lodge owned by the chairperson of the Cross Border Traders Cooperative, Auma Margaret and brutalised by a group of police and UPDF officers.
However, on Sunday, the Joint Security Task Force on handling coronavirus vowed to take serious disciplinary action against the culprits.
Also, on April 4, the Police arrested two of their colleagues and a member of a village defence unit who reportedly beat up a pregnant woman they accused of flouting orders against crowding in bars and public spaces.
The arrest followed a directive by President Museveni after he received reports of the alleged beating and torture of a woman identified as Ms Mercy Nakate.
Nakate, 23, a resident of Kibumbiro Village, Busega in Rubaga, Kampala, was reportedly beaten on March 27 by a group of policemen and village defence unit officials who were conducting a patrol.
FDC says only a few exposed by the media have been arrested.
“We thank the media for this brave coverage. Unfortunately, the media has itself become a target,” Ssemujju said.
“They are accusing their victims of throwing stones at them. Which stones did the Bukedde journalist threw at security personnel in Mukono? Let us face it, our forces are brutal. You can see happiness on their faces as they administer kiboko even to pregnant women,” he added.
Ssemujju says their public meetings are violently dispersed and “Museveni’s propagandists” paid for using taxpayers’ money often twist facts to blame victims.
“And the punishment which is usually a public relations stunt is caution or reprimand. Personnel involved in battering citizens must be expelled from the force and charged under the anti-torture act. Whose is buying these people sticks? All these must answer. UPDF and Police have become regime protectors ready to pounce at the population at slightest provocation. Of course some personal are professional and good mannered but many of their superiors are regime apologists,” he said.