Legislators on the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs this morning questioned Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) officials over the brutal manner in which two civilian suspected killers of Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi were arrested.
Appearing before the committee, Colonel Bright Rwamirama, the State Minister for Veteran Affairs, was asked why Umar Maganda and Ahmed Ssenfuka were rearrested by plain-clothed officers attached to the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) after gaining freedom from Courts of law.
In response Col. Rwamirama said Maganda and Ssenfuka were rearrested for being members of ADF and would flee the country to join the rebel outfit and cause mayhem in public.
“If those people hadn’t been arrested, they would have fled the country to go join ADF,” Rwamirama said.
However, this response attracted more questions than answers from MPs with Theodore Ssekikubo, the Lwemiyaga County MP, wondering why CMI didn’t keep the suspects in custody, or amend the charge sheet instead of having them rearrested after getting their freedom.
Ssekikubo also questioned where CMI derived from the mandate to arrest suspects, saying the actions point at the Army taking over Police’s mandate.
“If you had this information about CMI, why didn’t you think of amending the charges when you still had them in custody? The way the operation was conducted, you appear disorganized, you let plain clothed men act as if they are robbers. That isn’t a streamlined way UPDF should be operating,” said Ssekikubo.
He also declined to comment why the suspects were kept in custody for 21 days without being paraded in court, as stipulated by the Constitution.
“I am not the one responsible for prosecution. Prosecutors were on strike, so our job was to arrest the suspects and pass them over to Police,” Rwamirama said, adding that the matter is before courts of law and he was uncomfortable discussing the matter.
Meanwhile, asked if there was an impasse among security agencies following the arrest of senior police allegedly involved in the abduction and forceful repatriation of Rwandan nationals opposed to the Kigali regime living in Uganda, Rwamirama said the assertions were a creation of the media.
“There is absolutely no impasse between security bodies. It is occasioned by some elements in the media. It is the media that created the impression that there is a standoff between UPDF and Police and it is regrettable. UPDF is operating well with sister security agencies,” the Minister said.
However, the identity behind the security agency that arrested the top Police officials became more obscure when the army denied having a hand in their arrest, rather saying it was police that arrested their own.
“It wasn’t CMI that arrested those Police officers; it was police that arrested their own and handed them over to CMI for investigation,” Rwamirama explained.