By Stephen Kalema
President Museveni has blamed Yusuf Kawooya, the Uganda young Democrat activist brutally arrested two weeks ago of biting one of the arresting officers. This, President Museveni says in a lengthy statement to heads of security agencies dated 23rd October, 2018, prompted arresting authorities to hit him with a gun butt.
The President, however, acknowledges that the officer who is shown in the viral video gun-butting Kawooya on October 18 in the ribs and chest made a mistake and that he should have instead boxed him, if he felt threatened by the suspect.
“The security person who was seen using a rifle butt may have made a mistake but when I inquired, the concerned people told me that the suspect had bitten him (okuruma). That is very serious because some of the criminals have got infectious diseases. Our officer can be infected in that way and that should be an extra charge put on him,” President Museveni says.
In the statement addressed to Chief of Defence Forces, Inspector General of Police, and the Director Generals ISO and ESO, President Museveni advises that once rioters or any other criminals arrested should never be beaten by stick, fist or rifle butt.
“It is unfair, unnecessary and gives a bad image to the country. It is not necessary because what you want is for this criminal to pay for his sins. How? By being tried and sentenced. You do not have to beat him or maim him. He will be punished by being imprisoned or even hanged, if he is sentenced. You should, therefore, not play in the criminal’s hands by beating him/her so that he gains public sympathy. In what capacity are you beating the criminal? Are you the punisher? You are not,” he says.
“Your job is to detect, investigate, arrest and interrogate the suspect by using the facts of your investigations. Even if the criminal denies, the facts will pin him down. Constitutionally, the punishers of criminals in Uganda are the courts of law. Their punishments include long terms of imprisonment, fining wrong doers or even hanging them. Therefore, security personnel do not meddle and spoil the process. Just do your part.”
According to President Museveni, the officers who arrested Kawooya did not take right steps in arresting him.
“The appropriate response would have been to box him hard so that he stops biting our officer. That would be self-defense which is very legitimate. Hitting him with a rifle butt after he has stopped biting you, however, is both vengeance and also usurping the role of the punisher,” says the President’s statement.
However, in the video which was captured by Record TV, the bit of Kawooya biting officers is not shown in the footage.
He, however, refutes President Museveni’s argument that he fought the officers.
“I was attacked by four armed men. I tried to run for my life but they ran after me, and started hitting me. How could I have retaliated? They would have slaughtered me if had I fought back,” he said.
Kawooya, who suffered broken ribs, says he was accused of being connected to Jamil Mukulu, the former commander of the terrorist group ADF.