Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Katumba Wamala

The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces will not look on as its officers and men trample on the rights of Ugandans, the Chief of Defence Forces General Edward Katumba Wamala has warned.

Gen Wamala’s stern warning comes in the wake of the UPDF seeking to punish the men who took part in beating bystanders and supporters of the opposition’s Dr Kizza Besigye, who were lined up along the streets to welcome him from Luzira prison, where he had been incarcerated for two months on treason charges.

And now Gen. Wamala has cracked the whip against impunity in the army and directed the Military Police to investigate and bring the errant soldiers to book. The said soldiers were deployed alongside the police to escort Dr Besigye to his Kasangati home after he granted bail by the High Court. And instead of carrying out their assigned duties diligently, some of the soldiers were captured on video beating up people, an oversight that has attracted vicious criticism from the public and the opposition in Parliament.

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Indeed, the first victims of the public ire were the police, whose boss IGP General Kale Kayihura and ten senior officers are currently facing private prosecution for allegedly failing to supervise his subordinates.

This Wednesday Gen Kayihura was supposed to appear before the Makindye magistrate’s court to answer to the charges but he did not turn up. Interestingly, his absence was overshadowed by the presence of rowdy demonstrators, who caused chaos and brought activities at the court to a temporary standstill.

In a related development the officers being charged with the IGP, six constables and a ‘crime preventer’, one Dan Tandeka, are appearing before the police disciplinary court to answer to charges ranging from failing to supervise their subordinates to the physical beating of Dr Besigye’s supporters.