The State Minister for Internal Affairs, Kania Obiga has defended police actions on opposition strongman and FDC’s Dr. Kizza Besigye recently saying they were inevitable.
Police a few weeks ago had to fire water cannons at Besigye who was atop his Toyota Land Cruiser on his way to Namboole for a party conference to subdue him.
The officers would later smash four-time presidential aspirant’s car windscreen, spray him with pepper and later violently arrest him and detained at Naggalama Police Station.
Parliament would later put government on the spot over the brutality meted out to the opposition strongman.
However, Obiga told parliament that on receipt of a letter from the FDC spokesperson, Ssemujju Nganda about their intended activity, AIGP Asuman Mugyenyi asked them to provide proof of permission from the Namboole stadium management but also suggested that the seminar be held indoors.
He said that police also asked the opposition party to provide them with a copy of the day’s program but they never got any response.
“On November, 4 , 20L9, at 10.00 am, FDC members led by their leaders, who included Patrick Amuriat Oboi, Ssemujju Nganda and Dr Col Kiiza Besigye forcefully attempted to access the proposed ground (Nambole Stadium parking yard).Upon realizing that the premises had been sealed off, the leaders directed their supporters who had gathered and were now numbering about 500 to proceed to their (FDC) offices in Najjannakumbi. Soon a rowdy procession started heading towards Kampala Central Business District,”Obiga told parliament.
He said that the group chanting Twerwaneko started moving towards the city centre but were intercepted by police at Kireka market but they defied police orders not to continue with the procession.
“Instead, they parked their vehicles in the middle of the road thereby blocking and paralysing flow of traffic. Police had no choice but to disperse this defiant crowd; but after making a proclamation, declaring the process illegal,” the Minister said.
The Internal Affairs junior minister said police now engaged Besigye who had emerged as the de facto leader of the procession but he refused to heed to advice from the law enforcement officers creating a standoff.
“As a result of the standoff created by Col Kiiza Besigye’s refusal to heed to any negotiations, rowdy crowds built up. These rowdy crowds started pelting the police with stones resulting into the injury of three police officers and damaging of two police vehicles whereas normal traffic flow was disrupted.”
Minister Obiga said the fracas continued when Besigye drove up to Nakawa Spears Motors junction where he parked and paralysed traffic.
“Police had no choice but use reasonable force to remove Dr Besigye and other occupants out of the vehicle. This action on the part of the police is provided for in section 3 subsection 2 of the criminal procedure code Act (Cap 176) and section 27 2(b) of the Police Act (Cap 303),”Obiga said.
In total, he said 56 suspects were arrested and detained at Kiira road Police station and charged with inciting violence but noted that there is a growing trend of disrespecting the Police Force.
“There is a growing tendency by some members of the public particularly the opposition, to hurl insults at the police while police are doing their legitimate duty. This is unacceptable.”
“Many People have gone as far as physically assaulting the police which is unlawful. Furthermore, the police are human. They can only take so much.”