Friday, March 10, 2017

#Uganda Police officer who tried to kill a journalist walks free

For the now crippled Andrew Lwanga, a former journalist and cameraman at the now defunct WBS TV, January 12, 2015 will always be a day to remember.
On that fateful day he woke up to cover a procession by a group of unemployed youth who intended to petition the Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura to allow them hold rallies.
The then District Police Commander of Old Kampala Police Station, Joram Mwesigye, personally descended on the group hitting and scattering them. When he cornered them, he singled out Lwanga who had filmed him tumbling and making a nuisance of himself as he violently beat up anyone in sight. An unbelievable clip of the incident went viral on the Internet shocking and angering many who viewed the raw brutality therein.
Lwanga’s major crime was filming the DPC who later destroyed his camera and repeatedly kicked him in the back damaging his spine. Lwanga would later be detained until it was clear he was not well, then dumped at Mulago hospital.
So you can understand why some of us were annoyed and frustrated when this rogue police officer was convicted and sentenced to a fine of only Shs 1 million. Then to the man whose life he kicked into misery, he is to pay Shs5 million as ‘compensation!’
Yet, Lwanga at 29 years of age, is now unable to work. He has suffered the ignominy of going back to live under his widowed mother’s roof. He survives off handouts yet he has four children to push through school.
He accumulated a medical bill of more than $65,000 in a bid to recover and get back on his feet. This matter Lwanga brought to the attention of the magistrate before she decided on what compensation the DPC should give Lwanga.
The learned magistrate claimed she decided this way because the errant DPC was remorseful throughout the trial!
We have two very huge problems on our hands from the injustice Lwanga and many others have suffered over the years at the hands of the police.
Uganda Police Force acts as a law unto itself. Yet whenever there is an opportunity to reprimand them, they have been viewed as a necessary evil that has to understandably act viciously because they work in difficult circumstances.
This simply breeds impunity and that is why these incidents, especially against journalists, just don’t seem to go away.
Secondly, Uganda is in a situation where the governing NRM in a bid to perpetuate itself after 30 years in power lives in a state of denial. This happens after years of writing a colorful narrative of success.
This, it is claimed is due to the pursuit of the correct line based on lofty ideological superiority. Yet we now see so many failures, one of them being the unemployment of the youth whose demonstration Lwanga went out to film.
Now those around the all so powerful emperor want to fit in by supporting the claim that he is not as stark naked as he actually is.
So what they do to keep in his good books by being mean and bad to those who they perceive as a threat to the emperor. They will do everything to shut up and cut down the ‘enemies.’
When the DPC was assaulting Lwanga and the demonstrating youth he was trying to help in hiding evidence that there is something wrong in the emperor’s court. He instead made matters worse.
But he is lucky. His crime was committed as he tried to defend the empire against what some people call ‘bad publicity’- that has a negative impact on our tourism industry and scares away foreign investors.
Colonial history had so many of these stories. It was okay to brutalise and murder natives as long as it was done in the name of the king/queen and the empire, your back was covered. It still happens in most conflicts in which Western armies like the US army are involved. You get off lightly as long as it perpetuates the cause of the US government.
I am sure several police officers and security agents must have taken keen interest in Mwesigye’s case. They must now be feeling emboldened by his conviction and sentence.
Why? Because it is apparent that if it is for the sake of the empire, it doesn’t matter how bad it is, you may dive in the deep end, as your back is covered.
History has shown that even the so-called temple of justice is not spared if it is for the sake of the empire.
You have to be scared and watch your back lest it ends up being broken.

Andrew Lwanga: When justice leaves a bitter taste in the mouth

The charge should have been attempted murder for what he did but welcome to Uganda.

We wrote about that police attack on the journalist.  Check #Uganda’s dictator Museveni's police commander attempted to murder a journalist and we first published on January 14, 2015

For quite sometime now the brutality of Museveni's Police has grown from bad to worse but the worst is yet to be as we enter a crucial phase of his life presidency scheme.  The brutality has not spared toddlers, women, elderly, children, students, traders, political dissenters, human rights and anti-corruption activists etc.

The driving force behind all this brutality is Museveni’s militarisation and political indoctrination of the police force coupled by infiltration of soldiers into the Police force.  The force has been successfully transformed into the ruling party structures as an enforcement branch for Museveni's life Presidency project.

The nature of recruitment, training, deployment, equipment, command and control etc. all point to a regime's police force bent on protecting Mzei (Museveni)'s hold on power at all costs.  The few known gruesome incidents of brutality committed in public are just a fraction of what goes on in private i.e. during night patrols, in detention at Police stations and safe houses etc.

The regime tells its Police personnel that all dissenters are enemies of Mzei (Museveni’s) who should be treated as terrorist enemies and dealt with, with maximum force.

On 13th January 2015, the IIGP (Inspector General of Police) Kalekyezi Kayihura warned again demonstrations when he told the youth at a convention in Kabale thus: "No one will take power from us”.  Therefore, it is all about doing all it takes to retain power no matter the cost in terms of human blood.  

For any Police Officer to be able to qualify for being deployed in command positions in and around Kampala and other strategic areas, one must be a proven party cadre whose loyalty to Mzei (Museveni) is not in doubt.

On 12th January 2015, the DPC (District Police Commander) of Old Kampala Police Station Joram Mwesigye led his men against the peaceful demonstration by some dozen youths who were matching through the city heading for the police headquarters to hand in their petition.  As the norm, these days, the Police unleashed their usual terror on peaceful demonstrating and unarmed dozen youths. The journalists covered the proceedings with their cameras but the DPC ordered them to stop thus: "I am going to shoot you if you don't stop filming what is going on now".

The said DPC was armed with a pistol and he used an electronic cable to hit the journalists before hitting hard a WBS TV cameraman's head who soon fell unconscious.  The same DPC ordered his men to bundle the injured journalist into his private car and drove him to the police station where he dumped him into a cell.   It was only after the intervention of the Regional Police Commander (RPC) that the injured journalist was rushed to the hospital where he is currently hospitalised.

The Police top management has come out to offer public apologies after allegedly suspending and arresting the said officer and promising to investigate the motive of the officer. They disassociated themselves from his actions describing them as 'individual actions'.  This officer should be charged with attempted murder and if the hospitalised victim dies, the charge sheet will be amended to murder. By threatening to shoot unarmed journalists, the officer expressed an intent to harm the life of the victim because shooting is not like slapping. 

The persistent chasing and clobbering of the journalist with an electric cable using such a force moreover on the head demonstrates an intention to terminate the life of his victim. This argument is reinforced by the fact that the said officer denied the victim medical attention in preference for dumping him in the cell so that he could die. Therefore, the circumstances, weapon used and part of the body targeted may infer the intent to an attempt to murder. The Police will influence the outcome of the medical examination on the victim to stifle grievous bodily harm that would constitute a vital ingredient of any serious charge.

Police top management is simply trying to sweet talk the public just to cool down the tampers. The alleged suspension, arrest and investigation of the officer is as usual meant to hoodwink the public; what happened to Lt Magali shot people at Bulange, Arinaitwe Bwana who sprayed pepper into Dr. Besigye's eyes etc.?
The officer will be exonerated, promoted and redeployed as an excellent cadre because police top management always assures them of full backing and protection in such eventualities. On the other hand, some of the excited Police Officers need to understand that they are serving a regime whose 'origin and destination' they don't know. Its not possible for about 50,000 police personnel to hold hostage over 35 million Ugandans for ever.


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