President Yoweri had a meeting with most senior officers of the Uganda Police Force and cautioned them on Corruption and rough handling of suspects.
In a message posted on Museveni’s social media account, Museveni In the meeting held in State House Entebbe, Museveni castigated police bosses led by Deputy IGP Maj Paul Lokech over non-compliance to laid-out procedure in handling suspects, and corruption in the force.
The meeting comes a few days after Museveni held another meeting on Wednesday with top security chiefs in the country including the CDF Gen David Muhoozi, Special Forces Commander Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Deputy IGP among other top security brass in the country.
“The police should heed my earlier communication on proper methods of arresting suspects, handling citizens and foreign guests. Do not harass, beat, push or bark at wanainchi for whatever reason” President Museveni posted on Sunday.
“For retrogressive groups and hostile crowds, the security organs are guided by the legitimate means of the security forces on how to handle them. Do not let anybody threaten lives and property of Ugandans” He adds.
President Museveni’s back-to-back meetings with security chiefs come at time when many Ugandans are complaining of the abduction of their relatives and torture by security organs which happened towards, during and after the 2021 elections.
Government has since released a list of 177 people who had been are missing for weeks which only prompted more anxiety, anger and worry in Ugandans whose relatives’ whereabouts remain unknown.
The list has also received criticism from mainly opposition politicians who claim that many more people are still held under illegal detention. Most of the suspects on the government list are allegedly held for being in possession of military stores.
In this latest communication, Museveni however told police to ensure nobody threaten the lives and property of Ugandans. As for hostile groups, Museveni said police should seek guidance on legitimate means to handle them.
What happened to the Police Manual?
In October 2020, IGP Martins Okoth Ochola, on direction of president Museveni, issued a manual to all police officers and Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel clearly indicating how to handle various incidents by security personnel.
According to the manual, all police officers, commanders must ensure there is an operational order and highlights procedure of crowd control as well as use of guns.
The manual guides that firearms must only be used in situations of self-defence or any other circumstances where order cannot be restored or a specific duty performed unless firearms are used.
Justification for the use of firearms and fire, according to the police manual, must only be aimed shots and officers must be conscious of innocent bystanders.
In case of shooting, it must be done by selected marksmen and aimed at specific targets and the officer discharging fire must avoid collateral damage. The wounded should be cared for by police officers until medical evacuation arrives.
On demonstrators and rioters, the manual guides that these must be treated as opponents and not as armed enemies and therefore, no use of lethal weapons.
“When they must be dispersed, there is need to call for the attention of the leaders of the group and ask them to vacate. If violence continues, the commander shall audibly warn the participants that the assembly will be dispersed,” the manual says.
“If the violence continues, make a proclamation using loudspeakers and in a language the public” It adds.