Recently, the Uganda Police Force suspended the Kampala Metropolitan CIID boss Rebecca Namugenyi on grounds she may have ‘mishandled’ a case of murder involving city car dealer Muhammad Sebuwufu.
It is quite unfortunate that some crimes in Uganda are committed by people who claim to have protection ‘from above’ and this scenario has caused untold suffering to many.
In fact, by the accounts of those who have come up to speak against Sebuwufu’s actions after his arrest, it can be assumed that he was either ‘protected’ or held out to be. Either way the police should have picked interest in his operations earlier, before the death of Betty Katushabe and the alleged torture of several others.
Anyway, while nothing much can be written about Sebuwufu now since he is supposed to face the law, something can be said about the Police and the judiciary in relation to how they handle some matters, even those that appear ‘simple and straightforward’.
Take the recent example of the arrest of Fatuma Zainab, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activist who was dragged on tarmac in full view of the cameras.
It is a well documented global practice that Police by its nature is allowed to use ‘reasonable force’ while carrying out arrests, mostly those involving recalcitrant persons. But in Zainab’s case, can the Police explain the failure by seven officers, some armed with AK47s and others with handcuffs, to subdue a woman ‘armed’ with just her mouth and trousers?
That aside, a Fort Portal Resident High Court Judge, Justice David Ndikaboona Batema recently decried the habit of arresting civil defaulters without recourse to due process.
In his submission Justice Batema intimated that litigation involving civil debts should ordinarily end in foreclosure, with the debtor facing the sanctions as directed by court.
Unfortunately, for reasons known to them, neither the law enforcement agents nor officials at the lower rungs of the judiciary want to associate with the wise counsel of the likes of Justice Batema; they instead choose to pursue a narrow path that hurts Ugandans, the tax payers from who their salaries are derived.
And, worse still, it is for those ‘unknown reasons’ that Betty Katushabe and many others have not lived to ensure their children’s bright future.