Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The State Minister for Internal Affairs Obiga Kania has said that the brutal arrest of suspects is provided for in the law.
Kania who appeared with several police officials including deputy Inspector General of Police -IGP Maj. Gen. Sabiiti Muzeyi on Thursday was responding to queries raised by Members of Parliament.
Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Sekikuubo expressed concern over what he termed as the escalating brutality of the force during the arrest of opposition politicians and activists citing the incident where former Presidential candidate Dr. Kiiza Besigye was spread with a water cannon.
Sekikuubo said he was disappointed that the tenure of Muzeyi has been characterized by increased abuse of human rights as opposed to a reform that was expected.
He argued that the police force has increasingly become partisan and continued to inhibit people’s freedoms instead of nurturing democracy.
Kania defended the actions of the police by stating that police officers follow certain procedures provided for in the law. He said it was not up to a suspect to dictate how they would like to be arrested.
The Shadow Internal Affairs Minister Muwanga Kivumbi tasked the minister to make it clear how meetings are supposed to be organized and approved under the Public Order Management Act (POMA).
Kivumbi notes that most human rights violations are as a result of poor interpretation of the law where police brutally breaks up gatherings.
Kivumbi says that police sometimes deliberately declines to receive and stamp requests for meetings or fails to respond in time for the event to take place.
The minister acknowledged that there were differences in opinion on how the law should be implemented but stated that these issues could be ironed out through discussions just like the recent Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) talks on the POMA. He also suggested that an amendment to the law can be sought.
He however noted that the police under the law must never refuse to respond to requests and should always inform organizers about the reasons for declining a request for a meeting.