- Published on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 12:12
- Written by Nkwasibwe Geofrey
- Category: news
- Hits: 387
Despite announcing a suspension of the ten police officers arrested on the eve of the Bukoto South parliamentary by-election on suspicion of aiding rigging, pressure continues to pile on the force’s leadership to explain its involvement and that of other security agencies in the irregularities that marred last Thursday’s poll.
The ten policemen were accused of having helped an electoral official sneak into the Electoral Commission (EC) stores in Lwengo to tamper with the election materials in an attempt to rig for the NRM candidate, John Chrysostom Alintuma Nsambu.
On Sunday, the southern regional police commander (RPC), Simon Peter Wafana, told journalists at Masaka police station that although the police officers had been bonded, they had, for the time being, been suspended from the force pending investigations into their charge of neglect of duty.
Apart from the Sembabule district CID chief, Gonzaga Iga, whom journalists identified, the identities of the other accused officers remain the preserve of the police.
“Be patient. We shall release a report with all these details soon,” the southern region police spokesman, Noah Sserunjogi, told The Observer.
Last Friday, opposition MPs, Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka municipality), Florence Namayanja (Bukoto East), Moses Kasibante (Rubaga North) and Latif Ssebaggala (Kawempe North) told journalists at a press conference in Masaka that they intended to file suits against the police and the EC over the violent acts in Bukoto South constituency by gun and stick-wielding gangs.
“The Police should tell us who these people were. It was so unfortunate that the police could look on as these thugs terrorized people,” Mpuuga said.
The Bishop of Masaka Catholic diocese, John Baptist Kaggwa, also castigated security agencies for the violence.
“The images that we saw on television were unfortunate. They left us wondering what the rationale for organizing elections is, when the masses will not have the liberty of freely choosing their leader,” the prelate said on Sunday during mass to celebrate 90 years of St Henry’s College Kitovu.
“The Police just looked on as these men moving in vans without number plates were terrorizing the community. I think the laws governing elections need to be strengthened so that we don’t see acts like these again,” he added.
Meanwhile, MPs Namayanja and Betty Nambooze (Mukono municipality) led a group of DP activists to Masaka police station on Sunday to demand an explanation for their detention and confiscation of their property.
The police, last Wednesday night, arrested Nambooze along with 24 other DP activists and detained them for about 12 hours before releasing them without any charges preferred against them. Upon her arrest, police confiscated Nambooze’s car, a Toyota Prado, UAR 107H, three camping tents, five mattresses and blankets, three laptops and about Shs 2.6m.
The car was damaged in the process of being towed from Kinoni to Masaka police station and the police hurriedly repaired it as Nambooze and her delegation demanded that the items be handed back to her. Nambooze threatened to walk from Kinoni to Kampala, holding rallies at trading centres along the highway and telling the public about the police’s brutality.
The police bosses paced up and down as they contacted their superiors on phone for a solution. Later, RPC Wafana called Nambooze and Namayanja to the CID office, where he refunded the Shs 2.63m that Nambooze claimed was in her car, and handed over some of the other confiscated items.
Wafana, who had hoped that Nambooze would now leave, found himself having to face more questioning from the lawmakers, who wanted to know how the police had rapidly obtained the money to repair her car.
“Fine; my car has been repaired, but how did you raise the money to repair it? From which vote has the money been obtained?” Nambooze asked, as Namayanja chipped in, accusing the police of misusing public funds.
As a crowd gathered at the police station, the southern region CID chief, Emmanuel Mbabazi, joined Wafana in pleading with the MPs to drive away.
Source: The Observer