Many posts were made on the Uganda Police Force social media platforms, especially its Facebook page. Some people demanded more answers from the Police while others accused the police of “presenting one of their own” to pose as the accident victim.
Apparently, the accident victim, Atworo, resembles ASP Helen Butoto, a police spokesperson for the Sezibwa region. They said they are sisters.
On Aug.08, the Uganda Police Force published a video, in which ASP Helen Butoto appears, to clear the perception that she is the one who was allegedly knocked down by Zigy Wyne in the accident. In it, Butoto tells the public to disregard the fake reports on social media. But Ugandans were relentless, still unconvinced.
On the Uganda Police Force Facebook page, Sharon Loudy wrote below Butoto’s video: “Thanks for styling the victim’s hair,” after noticing that the accident victim had since plaited her hair which only made her resemble ASP Butoto.
Jawingo Peter wrote: “This still poses the same questions, present a video with them together please.”
Sadat Wassanyi pressed Police to do more: “If you can’t parade them together. The fact remains Zigy Wyne was tortured and murdered. #Period.”
Hilda Iga wrote: “I don’t know why that has failed them. Yesterday, the media houses went to the school where the knocked teacher teaches and she was nowhere.”
Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, the Shadow Minister for Internal Affairs, which oversees the police for opposition parties, said the police needed to show footage from the CCTV cameras in the area.
“This part of the city’s road network is one of the most invested in when it comes to CCTV cameras,” the Butambala County MP said.
Mwebaze Edward added: “What I see is simple and full of sense; that is for you to parade both the teacher and this police lady together holding hands (no Photoshop) and then leave the rest to us intellectuals to judge.”
On Aug. 09, the police responded, this time driving ASP Butoto with the media to the nursery school where they found the teacher at school.
At Happy Hammy Nursery School, the Deputy Police Spokesperson Polly Namaye asked the two women to pose next to each other and address the media.
The teacher recounted how the said accident happened. But many remained unconvinced. She was asked to show scars from the accident and she did; on her elbow, and foot.
But that was not enough. She was asked to enter a class to prove if the nursery children know her.
“How do you do class,” she greeted the toddlers.
“Hoow doo yoou doo, teeeacher Loy,” they replied in unison.
But even after presenting the two young women to the media on Aug.09, Miriam Kyomugasho wrote on the Police Facebook wall saying: “Police bring real accident records, your books, pictures, camera footage etc. Leave drama to Bakayimbira Dramactors and comedians.”
It appears that despite the police effort to provide as much information as possible, many people remained doubtful. Many focused on the police delay to release the accident version of what caused Wyne’s death. Mulago National Referral Hospital’s admission policy on accidents requires a police statement. There is an onsite police post. Why did police not have it immediately?
Vivien Gordon wrote: “The police in Uganda is so corrupt, thieves, name it. Don’t forget you have done this before.”
He cited another case involving Bobi Wine in August 2018 when the police raided a hotel the MP was in during the Arua Municipality MP by-election, killed his driver, arrested him and planted guns in his room before attempting to charge him and other opposition supporters with treason. The case collapsed and police’s dirty tricks were exposed.
“If you could lie about guns that were taken in a hotel and think people are stupid up to now, you have never come out to say it was a lie; and we were trying to frame the guy. I don’t believe anything Uganda Police says. They are the most dishonest people I have ever seen,” wrote Vivien Gordon, perhaps not real name.
William Marshall wrote that “credibility is like virginity. You lose it once. Some of your officers made the force lose credibility and that is why most people here are negative about this.”
The public’s lack of trust in the police reflects a growing distrust of government institutions and politicians. In an April 2019 public opinion poll by Research World International, a local polling agency, only 38% of respondents supported President Yoweri Museveni to stand for re-election but up to 50% said they do not favour any of the current leaders of his party either.
Up to 47% said they would not vote back their area MP, mainly they said, because the MPs are pursuing their own interests and those of their constituency. Another Research World International poll released in February 2016 showed that up to 47% of Ugandans do not trust the Uganda Police. There have been many incidences where government communication agencies have clashed, exposing a state in disarray.
In June, when a plane carrying new currency notes ordered by Bank of Uganda landed at Entebbe International Airport in the so-called “BoU currency Saga,” the Government Spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, publicly lambasted the Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga, over the handling of information on the investigation.
Ofwono Opondo told journalists: “It is wrong for Enanga to tell the public that extra money was smuggled in.”
And Enanga told journalists: “As police, we stand by our first investigations, which involved the raid on the homes of the [BoU] officials where we recovered the exhibits…”
In another incident in early July, Attorney General William Byaruhanga, his deputy, Mwesigwa Rukutana, publicly squabbled with the Minister of state for Privatization, Evelyn Anite, over the fate of the Administrator of the failing Uganda Telecom Ltd, BemanyaTwebaze, until President Museveni had to intervene.
In the latest tug-of-war, the Minister of Health, Ruth Aceng, her Permanent Secretary Diana Atwiine, and MPs on Parliament’s Committee on the Economy were left stranded at the construction site of the controversial Lubowa Specialised Hospital after the entrance was blocked with a grader to stop them from accessing the site. The PS/Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, had earlier on Aug. 02 advised them not to attempt to enter the site.
What emerges is a pattern of squabbles between government officials and institutions that leaves the public unsure of what is going on and what is true or fake.