The issue: Parading suspects
Our view: What the scared public expects is solid action to stop the so-called city goons, gruesome killings, brutal break-ins, gangsters wielding machetes, etc.
Internal Security Organisation (ISO) boss Col Kaka Bagyenda is back with the ugly theatricals – parading criminal suspects before the media. This outright wrong practice was perfected by sacked former police chief Gen Kale Kayihura.
But Col Kaka on Monday went one better – freely rolling in the mix of suspects even big political Opposition names as Ingrid Turinawe - he claims are among the architects of the current wave of bloody insecurity. Among the grave crimes Col Kaka and netted suspects accuse the suspects of are plotting to overthrow the government, and assassinating prominent personalities in the country.
These crimes when proven and offenders convicted attract ultimate sentences of death by hanging. This is why Col Kaka should stop the rude joke and act as a responsible public officer entrusted with the custody of our intelligence service and defence of national security.
For a reminder, Col Kaka should refresh his minds that Article 221 of the 1995 Constitution demands of him and ISO “to observe and respect human rights and freedoms in the performance of their functions.”
For Col Kaka, the legal channels and apparatuses of prosecutions are open without him first dragging suspects to parade before radio, newspapers, and TVs. The law, under Article 28 of the Constitution, is very loud on rights to a fair hearing “before an independent and impartial court or tribunal established by law”, which Col Kaka is not such a court or tribunal. The same Article 28(a) is categorical that every suspect, even when charged with an offence, is “presumed to be innocent until proven guilty or until that person has pleaded guilty”, again before an independent and impartial court or tribunal established by law; not before Col Kaka and the media.
These reasons are precisely why Col Kaka’s mockery of our well-established and legally mandated justice systems must be disowned. Col Kaka should revisit the Constitution that provides that suspects can, indeed, be arrested, arraigned before competent courts, charged, with both prosecutions’ and suspects’ arguments heard, are cross-examined, verdict delivered, and appeals processes exhausted, and case resolved.
For Col Kaka, his troubling theatrics as witnessed on Monday, was once executed during the tenure of police chief Gen Kayihura. To date, not much was achieved in arresting the insecurity, but the country ended up with counter suits of wrongful arrests, detention, and torture of suspects in the courts of law.
In sum, Ugandans are not interested in the public relations stunts and media limelight cast on suspects at press conferences. What the scared public expects is solid action to stop the so-called city goons, gruesome killings, brutal break-ins, gangsters wielding machetes, axes, hammers and other crude weapons.