KAMPALA — A police officer was repeatedly slapped by his seniors on Wednesday for recklessly firing rounds of teargas canisters in non violent people and motorists—causing commotion and fainting of people.
A video showed the officer in riot gear being slapped by two senior officers over his reckless action that they said was likely to take the situation out of control.
Several people were hurt in his action to disperse non violent who were jubilating after High Court quashed attempts to de-register Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform.
It is not immediately clear whether the police will face additional sanctions.
This comes after the Inspector General of Police (IGP) reached out to Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa, and Buganda Kingdom expressing his apologies after security agencies disrupted a public function, which the 76-year old Bishop was presiding over.
The apology follows the events of October 17 when the Bishop Kaggwa was presiding over Holy Mass as part of the thanksgiving ceremony for the change of leadership at the Buganda Kingdom’s Mbogo clan.
Police officers who sought to disperse the crowd that had gathered at the main entrance of the Kingdom’s ancestral headquarters in Mityana, the venue of the celebration, lobbied teargas that spread all over the place, causing commotion, with some congregants at the Holy Mass reportedly fainting.
“The IGP carried out a thorough review and evaluation of the incident, and acknowledges the operational lapse which led to the use of teargas that spread and impacted on the congregation and the public,” the Assistant IGP, Asan Kasingye who led a delegation of senior officers representing IGP Ochola said in his statement published on Facebook.
He noted that the IGP further requested that all leaders (including religious leaders) seek to always involve the Police in such events for better coordination amid the COVID-19 pandemic in order to minimize the risks of transmission among the entire public.
Other reports have indicated that the police used teargas to prevent opposition politicians from accessing the venue. One of the 2021 presidential candidate, popular musician and parliamentarian, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu popularly known as Bobi Wine who is a member of the Mbogo clan was among those barred.
Soon after the teargas incident, Bobi Wine posted on Facebook, “I and other clan members … have been blocked from accessing the venue. Many young people were arrested and am informed that they are being held at Mityana Police.”
“It’s the habit of President Museveni and his regime to intimidate his most fierce opponent especially ahead of elections … This is basically to intimidate people,” he said in his Facebook post and added, “We strongly condemn this blatant disrespect of our culture and cultural institutions by the security forces.”
The October 17 event was organized to usher in Omutaka Namwama Augustine Nsereko as the new leader of the Buganda Kingdom’s Mbogo clan and bid farewell to his immediate predecessor, Elder Gajuule Kayiira Kasibante
The disruption of the ceremony sparked protests from members of the Buganda Kingdom.
The Prime Minister of Buganda’s Kingdom, Charles Peter Mayiga condemned the incident terming it “impunity.” He called on security agencies to handle such cultural matters “with utmost respect and caution.”
Meanwhile, the apology from the IGP has attracted mixed reactions from Facebook users.