General Kale Kayihura and seven other police commanders facing torture charges are yet to be served with summons just three days before they are due to appear in Court.
The Inspector General of Police and his commanders are scheduled to appear before Makindye Chief Magistrates Court on August 29th after they failed to honour court summons sixteen days ago.
On August 10th, the Makindye Chief magistrate Richard Mafabi ordered private lawyers led by Daniel Walyeremera to serve the officers again after invalidating the service they had early made at the Police headquarters registry section.
In July, at least 20 private lawyers instituted private prosecution against Kayihura and other commanders for alleged torture of supporters of former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye on the 13th and 14th July 2016.
Consequently, the Makindye court issued summons for the police bosses to appear on 10th August 2016 but none showed up in court.
On the same day, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions – DPP – applied to take over the case, but their application was turned down by the magistrate. A few days after court issued fresh summons, however, the DPP filed an appeal in the High Court contesting the decision of the Chief Magistrate.
A consensus was reached by the DPP and the lawyers before the High Court could make a ruling and the two parties agreed that the DPP takes over the prosecution. The lawyers agreed to assist the DPP in “any issue that may arise”.
Two weeks after the consensus, however, the two parties are yet to agree on who should serve Kayihura and his officers with fresh summons leaving the August 29th court appearance in balance.
The lawyers are denying responsibility of serving the suspects on grounds that the DPP took over the case. The DPP, on the other hand, says they are not in charge of the case until they formally take responsibility on August 29th.
The DPP spokesperson Jane Kajuga told URN that they can only fully take charge of the prosecution after appearing in court and being recognised and given the file.
“After we appear in court, we shall be in charge of all that comes thereafter. The orders of court issued when it last sat, are still valid and should be implemented as they were issued,” Kajuga says.
This is disputed by Julius Namugali from Namugali, Walyemera and Company Advocates, the lead law firm in the torture case. Namugali says the DPP assumed all the responsibility for the case when the prosecution body took it over. He says: “DPP took over prosecution of the case and is thus tasked with handling all matters relating to the case. You could ask him if he has served the suspects.”
Legislators on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee have questioned the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over its handling of private cases it takes up.
Two days ago Members of Parliament expressed concern that several cases taken up by the DPP usually die out without being heard in court.
One of the legislators, Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba, said the DPP’s resolve to take over the criminal prosecution of General Kale Kayihura could be a move to discontinue the case.
The other officers facing torture charges with Kayihura include three commanders who are currently on suspension. They include Andrew Kaggwa who until the suspension was Kampala South Regional commander and Samuel Bamuzibiire, the suspended Kampala Metropolitan Field Force Unit commander.
Others are Patrick Muhumuza, operations commander of Field Force Unit – Kampala Metropolitan South who is also on suspension and Moses Nanoka, who was suspended as Wandegeya Division police commander. Also on the list are James Ruhweza who is head of operations, Kampala Metropolitan, Wesley Nganizi, Regional police commander, Kampala North, and Geoffrey Kaheebwa, Deputy Regional Police Commander, Kampala South.
Some of these commanders are already undergoing prosecution in the Police disciplinary court and have been sent for training at the police staff college in Bwebajja.