The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Mike Chibita, this week voiced his frustration over the delay by the police to investigate and bring to book the killers of slain Principal State Attorney Joan Kagezi three years down the road.
Kagezi was shot dead on the evening of March 30, 2015, in Kiwatule, Kampala, on her way home.
The DPP, under Article 120 (3) of the Constitution, has wide-ranging powers, including to direct the police to investigate any information of a criminal nature, to institute criminal proceedings against any person or authority in any court other than a military court, to take over and continue any criminal proceedings instituted by any person or authority, and to discontinue at any stage before judgment any criminal proceedings.
The lamentation by the DPP against the police should, therefore, not be taken lightly. It is the same cry that many members of the public whose loved ones have been killed over time have. They want answers. They want some form of closure.
Whether it is in the women killings, the recent kidnappings, the killing of police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi, the killings Muslim clerics, or any other killings, the feeling is the same. We wait with keen interest to see whether the police will resolve the recent kidnap and murder of Susan Magara. Almost every day there are reports of killings of people across the country, but there are too few answers on bringing the culprits to book.
Suspects in their hundreds have been arrested and detained during the course of investigations. Some of these have been detained for so long beyond the prescribed time under the law and are often released without any charges or the cases eventually don’t go through full trial or the cases fail on presentation to court.
It is, therefore, important that the police and other security agencies observe human rights and due process in the course of investigations. Crimes cannot be solved by committing others. Human rights education and training programmes to change the attitudes and methods of law enforcement by personnel must be instituted immediately and where they exist, must be strengthened.
The other pertinent issue is that it is time that the police started providing conclusive answers to killings and other major crimes. It is important if the police are to earn the trust of the public. Finally, we urge all government agencies to work together and not against each other and involve the general public where necessary. We can’t afford to trade blame.