Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Local leaders and Boda Boda riders in Masaka have called for the immediate transfer of the District Police Commander Bosco Bakashaba and Officer in Charge of Nyendo-Ssenyange Division police station, Denis Kanakulya.
It comes a few days after a Boda boda rider identified as Hussein Walugembe set himself on a fire inside the traffic office at Masaka Central Police Station after failing to convince the Officer in Charge of Traffic, Ibrahim SSesanga to release his motorcycle that was impounded during curfew.
Both the local leaders and Boda boda riders in Masaka argue that the incident is a pointer to a bigger problem of poor policing methods and brutality directed at residents by police officers who are after self-enrichment.
During a security meeting, Henry Mayanja, the Chairperson Katwe Boda boda stage accused police officers of exercising utmost brutality while enforcing curfew, which has fueled frustration among those who fall prey to their operations.
He alleged that Bakashaba and Kanakulya have turned their offices into conduits of extorting money from suspects and have subjugated all police departments to accomplish their selfish interests.
Job Ntege, the Secretary Nyendo-Ssenyange Division Boda Boda Association also accused the officers of operating with utmost arrogance hence blocking all channels of civil negotiations with the community.
Joseph Lwebuga, the Masaka District Boda Boda Riders’ Association Defense Secretary noted that the officers are taking advantage of enforcing COVID-19 guidelines and curfew to arbitrarily mistreat cyclists.
He demanded that the police commanders are replaced with others officers that can cooperate with the locals.
Florence Namayanj, the Bukoto East Member of Parliament indicates that besides the Thursday incident of self-immolation, some officers are also known for demanding sexual favors from woman seeking services from the offices.
Mathias Mpuuga, the Masaka Municipality Member of Parliament has challenged the Inspector General Police-IGP to expedite investigations into the conduct of the implicated officers, saying his failure to reign over the irregularities may compel citizens to revenge against the officers.
The demands by the Boda boda riders came a day after the Inspector General of Police; Martin Okoth Ochola dispatched a team of senior police officers to Masaka to investigate circumstances under, which Walugembe torched himself at the police station.
Muhammad Nsubuga, the Greater Masaka Region Police Spokesperson, says that team has already started work. He asked all aggrieved parties to show up and file their complaints in confidence to guide police authorities on their next course of action.