Hon. Lt. Col. (Rtd.) Dr. Rwamirama Bright Kanyontore, Minister of State for Defence and Veteran Affairs (Veteran Affairs), says re-arrested suspects in the murder of former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi were resisting arrest.
“I don’t think we are being fair to say that excessive force was used outside court. People were resisting arrest. Are we promoting the law by allowing people to resist arrest?” he said Thursday night while appearing on NBS “Frontline” programme.
He said force is used to subdue someone who is resisting.
“If someone calls you to enter a vehicle and you oblige, there is no fracas. The good news is that the three arms of government work together.”
He quoted Security minister Gen Elly Tumwine who said people are not angels.
“For me, from the footage, there was violent resistance and a lot of force used. We need to put ourselves in the shoes of the officers.”
According to Rwamirama, the two people arrested in Mariam Nagirinya’s murder were previously arrested over another murder.
They appealed and were given a light sentence. Barely two weeks outside, they killed again.
“We need to appreciate the way our forces are operating and even move to empower them further.”
“We have situations which sometimes force our officers to behave the way they behaved this time. We have cases where people murder people, they are given bail and then disappear.”
He added: “I would be very happy if evidence on claims that some people create insecurity so that they can profit from it is brought forward.”
He said this in reply to Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko, who said, everyone including the deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo, says this was in breach of the law and excessive force was used.
“In law, we say “Facts speak for themselves”. We have all seen the video of the arrest. The procedure is that after introducing themselves, officers have to tell the suspect what they are charged with and when the suspect resists, you apply force.”
He said the footage doesn’t reflect that. The footage is clear.
Nsereko said President Museveni has previously said it is bad for security officers to conduct arrests when they are not in uniform and even suggested that those who do so should be stoned.
“This is the message the people are carrying forward. If you look at the murder of Nagirinya, witnesses say plainclothes men pulled her out of the car. Those were criminals. How will the public draw a difference between the security forces and criminals?”
Nsereko: Ofwono Opondo [government spokesperson] says these people were rearrested because they have pending charges. What are these charges?
Opondo: Wait for the police to finish their investigations.
Nsereko: Gen Tumwine said they first investigate and then arrest. Why are those men in Kireka?
Opondo: They have other connections with violent crime. There is evidence that even while they were in Luzira, they were actively coordinating crime.
According to Nsereko, every Ugandan is scared whether they will get home safely.
The government invests heavily to secure a few people instead of securing the general public.
“The cost of securing yourself as an individual is so high. The ordinary Ugandan today must foot an extra bill to remain secure.”
He said since 2016, over 1,300 people have been murdered. Those are the reported cases. Some are due to land wrangles, others are homicidal and organised crime.
The onus is on government to protect Ugandans and their property. 48 women were killed in Wakiso and there is no single report, Nsereko explained.
“With this breakdown in investigative institutions, people thought it was the kawukuumi in the police. Cameras were brought but lights are rare in this city. Cameras were installed in darkness.”