When you mention Nalufenya police detention facility, what comes to mind is the horrendous torture that takes place there.
Well the facility that has hosted several police suspects was closed last week on the orders of the Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola, a move that was welcomed by those in human rights circles.
Yet before the doors are firmly shut at the facility, former in mates there have harr0wing tales and experiences of being detained there.
One of them Grace Bukenya, a former security officer at Nana Hostels in Makerere spoke to The Nile Post about his experience.
The morning of 19th April, 2017 will forever remain etched in Bukenya’s memory.
While at work at Nana hostel that day, Bukenya said that a group of about 30 officers came and alleged that the then IGP Gen Kale Kayihura wanted to see him.
“I was confident because I didn’t have any criminal record”, says Bukenya, nonchalantly.
This confidence did not last long.
He said that the then Kampala Metropolitan Police commandant Frank Mwesigwa received him at Naguru police headquarters and started interrogating him over things he did not know. Among others he was accused of being the leader of the “Bijambiya” group.
“He read out so many names [of people was allegedly working with]. I only knew a one Ssebulime whom I was training boxing with” says Bukenya.
When he denied knowing the rest, he was taken back to custody before he was paraded at Katwe Police station before the glare of the media as the head of “Bijambiya” goons.
This was the time when these thugs were terrorizing people in areas of greater Masaka.
“From police custody, I was told that I was going to see the president and ordered to take whatever belonged to me. To my disappointment, I only found hired goons to incriminate me as their commander before the media yet I didn’t know any of them. This was heartbreaking”, he narrates, tearing up.
Bukenya alleges that he later found out that the men where promised Shs 25 million to implicate him and they used to be fed in a special way unlike other suspects.
On the 25th day of April, 2017, Bukenya woke up to the sight of the police notorious dark blue van which has been termed as “Besigye”, with plain clothes men putting sandals but holding machine guns.
Without saying a single word, the gun trotting men signaled him to enter the car.
“This was the start of my journey to Nalufenya” he calmly said.
His narrations reveal that the reception at Nalufenya was conciliatory.
“Before the panel of interrogators sits, there is buffet you’re served on arrival” Bukenya revealed.
However once in the interrogation room, the real picture of the dreaded facility starts to emerge.
From the aggressively barking dogs tethered to police on one end of the room to the cameras that are placed in your face, you immediately forget about the buffet eaten on arrival.
“They ask you details from your birth to death” a humorous Bukenya told The Nile Post.
Then there is what is called a ward room, a kind of torture recuperating room.
Bukenya divulges that whoever he found inside this room was either nursing wounds or crying sporadically.
Bukenya who claims to have spent a month at the facility affirms that prosecution failed to table sufficient evidence before his interrogators warranting his release.
He says that his case file that included counts of murder, rape and terrorism was prepared at Old Kampala police station yet he is alleged to have committed such atrocities in Masaka.
These technical errors led to his release but not after some acts of drama.
Without a job and with his reputation gravely damaged by the allegations, Bukenya has become disgruntled.
“My movements are now limited; I can’t even think of going to Masaka” he said.
In an attempt to regain his dignity, Bukenya is now fighting a legal battle with Kayihura from whom he wants to be compensated.
It is still a long way to justice.